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Why Does the Sun Always Look So Cool?
How the Sun Messes With Satellites
The sun may appear to us as a relatively stable yellow ball in the sky, but there's tons going on that we can't see. Our eyes are only capable of seeing a fraction of the electromagnetic spectrum (what we know as visible light), but a lot of what's happening on the surface of the sun in wavelengths our eyes aren't capable of seeing. Solar activity can affect the weather and satellites orbiting the earth and causes the phenomenon known as auroras, the colorful streams of light seen in the skies around the North and South poles.
NASA launched the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) in February, 2010, with the mission of better understanding the sun, and, "the causes of solar variability and its impacts on Earth." The satellite has been in geosynchronous orbit over the south-eastern Pacific ocean, taking pictures of the sun every 10 seconds with its 4 telescopes in 10 different wavelengths. Each of the 10 wavelengths captures a different temperature of solar material on the surface of the sun.
Earlier this week NASA released a stunning 4k-resolution 30-minute time lapse video of the sun taken by the SDO. For the first time ever, we can see the just how active the surface of the sun. Trace and Dr. Ian O'Neill, our Space Producer, talk about the importance of it and explain what exactly we're seeing. The footage is color-coded to the different wavelengths of video it captured, with the yellow/green filter showing surface of the sun at 6000 degrees Kelvin, red at 50,000 K, goldenrod at 600,000 K, gold at 1 million K, purple at 2 million K, blue 2.5 million K, bright green: at 6M K, and aqua at 10M K.
Here's a link to watch the full 30-minute-long video.
Why NASA Scientists Observe the Sun in Different Wavelengths (NASA)
"Taking a photo of the sun with a standard camera will provide a familiar image: a yellowish, featureless disk, perhaps colored a bit more red when near the horizon since the light must travel through more of Earth's atmosphere and consequently loses blue wavelengths before getting to the camera's lens."