NASA and ESA have released a mesmerizing nearly-50-minute-long video of our sun's activity over the past 25 years. That's a quarter of a century's worth of fireball spitting, eruptions, fiery gas release, all on tape, and all in a calming blue hue.
December 2 marked the 25th anniversary of NASA and ESA's joint project, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), and the team celebrated by sharing the video for the world to see the wonders of our sun.
Filmed between 1998 and 2020, SOHO's video is a sight for sore eyes. So, snuggle up, grab a cup of tea, and press play to be transported to space.
SOHO is set to continually film and observe everything that happens to and around the sun. It was only meant to stay in space for two years, but the mission was such a success that it kept going, and continues to run.
Observing the sun so closely and in real time enabled scientists to help predict the weather it sends our way. "At the time SOHO was designed, very few people talked or thought about space weather," SOHO Project Scientist Bernhard Fleck at ESA said.
"But now, I look at SOHO observations like weather radar. Now it is as normal as opening your weather app and checking when the rain is coming," he continued.
SOHO's special telescopes, coronagraphs, block out the bright face of the sun, which allows for better visibility of the light that extends from it.
On top of this, SOHO warns when Earth-bound storms, CMEs, are heading our way — something that could impact spacecraft, astronauts, and powergrids all the way down on Earth.
In order to make the video, NASA and ESA put together these coronagraph views, and what turns out is a wondrous piece of footage.
As Jack Ireland of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center perfectly put it, "Twenty five years should just be the start. From a scientific point of view, we need to keep going, we can’t take our eyes off the Sun."
Take a look and enjoy the video below: