Dubai: The Sun became an Instagram star today, after Nasa (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) posted a spectacular time-lapse showing solar activity over a week, condensed to just 23 seconds.
“Time for some Sun salutations,” Nasa’s Instagram account said in the caption, referring to the yoga exercise called Surya Namaskar in Sanskrit.
The video that gained over 1.3 million likes in just 14 hours shows a week of solar activity, from November 1 to November 8, 2022, as captured by Nasa’s Solar Dynamics Observatory or SDO.
The video shows compiled images, taken every 108 seconds, to condense seven days of solar observations.
From its orbit in space around Earth, SDO has steadily imaged the Sun in 4K resolution for nearly 13 years, according to the space organisation.
In the video, you get to see the active regions of the sun as it rotates. The clip shows sunspots (areas that appear dark on the surface of the Sun), and sun flares (eruptions of electromagnetic radiation in the Sun's atmosphere) on the surface of the giant star, which rotates approximately once every 27 days.
The Instagram clip is part of a longer 133-day time lapse that was posted on Nasa’s website. According to Nasa: “[It] showcases photos taken at a wavelength of 17.1 nanometers, which is an extreme-ultraviolet wavelength that shows the Sun’s outermost atmospheric layer: the corona… the movie condenses 133 days, or about four months, of solar observations into 59 minutes.”
This longer video chronicles solar activity on our closest star, from August 12 to December 22, 2022.
“The video shows bright active regions passing across the face of the Sun as it rotates. The loops extending above the bright regions are magnetic fields that have trapped hot, glowing plasma. These bright regions are also the source of solar flares, which appear as bright flashes as magnetic fields snap together in a process called magnetic reconnection,” the website explains.
Some of the dark frames that appear in the video are caused by Earth or the Moon eclipsing SDO as they pass between the spacecraft and the Sun. According to the website, the other blackouts are caused by instrumentation being down or data errors. SDO transmits 1.4 terabytes of data to the ground every day.
The music , Nasa says, is a continuous mix from Lars Leonhard’s ‘Geometric Shapes’ album. Perfect for those looking for a longer music track to practise some yoga.
Social media users were amazed by the footage.
Instagrammer @thecreatingwonders commented: “Makes me realise my problems are small. Stay humble people.”
“Wow NASA. That’s exceptional,” exclaimed another Instagrammer, @jay_a_daley.
And, @debbieduncan298 said: “Love watching the sun like this. I also watch it on the NASA channel.”