(TMU) – NASA has released an absolutely epic time-lapse video of the Sun that depicts 10 years of changes that it has undergone over the past decade.
And with many of us remaining indoors, the 61-minute-long NASA video showing an entire decade of the massive star is truly time well-spent – especially for some of you who are watching reruns of The Office for the fifth time.
The video is a compilation of 10 years of images collected by the U.S. space agency’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), which marked a decade of watching the Sun for ten years as of June 2020.
As of Monday afternoon, the video had already racked up 1.9 million views since it was uploaded on Wednesday.
“This is utterly incredible,” one user wrote in the comments section.
“That’s insane – almost looks unreal,” another wrote.
Unlike us humans, the SDO spacecraft is capable of safely fixing its gaze on the sun and watching all of the events that happen on the solar body – from its outburst-like flares to its massive mood swings, as well as extended periods of relative calm.
The time-lapse images were taken at an extreme ultraviolet wavelength of 17.1 nanometers in order to capture the outer atmosphere.
Every so often the video cuts out for a split second or shows a small bit of black passing along the disc of the sun. This is due to the Earth or Moon eclipsing the SDO as it passes between the spacecraft and the sun.
The SDO was able to capture massively high-resolution images of the sun every 0.75 seconds, and took one photo from every hour of footage to make the video – resulting in this stunning hour-long video.
“From its orbit in space around Earth, SDO has gathered 425 million high-resolution images of the Sun, amassing 20 million gigabytes of data over the past 10 years,” NASA said in a statement.
So if you can, make sure that you watch the video on a display with 4k resolution at the maximum height of 2160 pixels.
Likewise, you’ll also want to plug in your best sound-bar or Hi-Fi surround sound system, because the video is accompanied by a nice and spacey music track titled Solar Observer by German composer Lars Leonhard, who produces “ambient, dub-techno, and deep-atmosphere” music for labels as well as for NASA, according to his official Facebook page.
In 2016, the U.S. space agency also released a time-lapse of Mercury zooming past the Sun in a rare transit.
Sometimes we need a reminder to tell us that in the grand scheme of things, our troubles are quite temporary and they, too, will pass. Indeed, for some entities in this universe, a decade can come and go in the blink of an eye.
And for the sun, which has existed for about 4 and a half billion years and is expected to last another 5 billion years, a decade’s time is less than a drop in the bucket.
Once again, we highly recommend that you take the time to immerse yourself in the mesmerizing display compiled by NASA – you’ll walk away from the experience with zero regrets.
Scientists Prove What Causes Aurora Borealis for the First Time
Since the dawn of time, humans have been mystified by what causes the aurora borealis or northern lights. However, a group of scientists have finally uncovered what causes the dazzling lightshow that has captivated people for so long.
Researchers at the University of Iowa have proven that the shimmering auroras are the result of powerful electromagnetic waves during geomagnetic storms, according to a newly published study.
According to the study, phenomena known as Alfven waves propel electrons toward Earth and cause the particles to produce the brilliant display of northern lights seen in the higher latitudes of our planet,
“Measurements revealed this small population of electrons undergoes ‘resonant acceleration’ by the Alfven wave’s electric field, similar to a surfer catching a wave and being continually accelerated as the surfer moves along with the wave,” Prof. Greg Howes, a co-author of the study, told CNN.
Scientists have long understood that the aurora was the likely result of electrons surfing across the electric field, at least since the theory was introduced in 1946 by Soviet scientist Lev Landau.
However, the University of Iowa professors were able to finally put the theory to the test through a simulation at a lab at the Large Plasma Device (LPD) in the Basic Plasma Science Facility of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Using a 20-meter-long chamber to simulate the magnetic field of the Earth through state-of-the-art magnetic field coils, scientists were able to generate plasma similar to that which exists in spac.
“Using a specially designed antenna, we launched Alfven waves down the machine, much like shaking a garden hose up and down quickly, and watching the wave travel along the hose,” said Howes.
While this didn’t result in the type of auroras we might see in the sky, “our measurements in the laboratory clearly agreed with predictions from computer simulations and mathematical calculations, proving that electrons surfing on Alfven waves can accelerate the electrons (up to speeds of 45 million mph) that cause the aurora,” Howes noted.
Scientists across the country were elated by the results of the experiment.
“I was tremendously excited! It is a very rare thing to see a laboratory experiment that validates a theory or model concerning the space environment,” said Patrick Koehn, a scientist in the Heliophysics Division of NASA.
“Space is simply too big to easily simulate in the lab,” he added.
Researchers are hopeful that a greater understanding will allow forecasters to better understand weather conditions in space.
Tiny Creature Frozen for 24,000 Years is Brought Back to Life
A microscopic creature has come back to life and reproduced asexually after 24,000 years of lying dormant in the permafrost of Siberia.
Russian scientists found the tiny freshwater creature, called the bdelloid rotifer, in the rich soil of the Alazeya river of Russia’s far northern Siberan region of Yakutia.
The multicellular organism is common throughout the world and is known to be extremely resilient, capable of surviving extreme cold, dryness, starvation and low oxygen.
While previous research found that it could survive a decade when frozen at -20 degrees Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit), the new study published by the journal Current Biology offers a stunning testimony of the survivability of the tiny animal – which is by far the longest survival period known of any creature in the world.
“Our report is the hardest proof as of today that multicellular animals could withstand tens of thousands of years in cryptobiosis, the state of almost completely arrested metabolism,” said Stas Malavin, an author of the study, in a statement.
Malavin’s Soil Cryology Lab in Pushchino, Russia, used a drilling rig to extract the miniscule organism from roughly a dozen feet below the remote Arctic location.
Once the ancient organism thawed, it reproduced on its own through a process of parthenogenesis. Researchers then found that it could withstand repeatedly being frozen and thawed dozens of times due to its innate processes of cell and organ protection.
“The takeaway is that a multicellular organism can be frozen and stored as such for thousands of years and then return back to life – a dream of many fiction writers,” Malavin said.
“Of course, the more complex the organism, the trickier it is to preserve it alive frozen and, for mammals, it’s not currently possible,” the scientist added. “Yet, moving from a single-celled organism to an organism with a gut and brain, though microscopic, is a big step forward.”
Researchers hope that the knowledge gleaned from studying the microscopic organism will bring further insights on how to preserve animals’ cells, tissues and organs – including those belonging to human beings.
China’s “Artificial Sun” Sets World Record Running At 120 MILLION Degrees For 101 Seconds
Chinese researchers have achieved a new world record after scientists developing an “artificial sun” ran the device on Friday at a record-shattering temperature of 120 million degrees Celsius for over 100 seconds.
The experiment was held at the Institute of Plasma Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ASIPP) in Hefei, China.
The exercise is a part of the China’s efforts to develop new clean energy sources through the development of next-generation nuclear fusion reactor technology.
Known as the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST), the “Chinese artificial sun” managed to generate plasma temperatures of 120 million degrees Celsius for 101 seconds before scientists also realized a temperature of 160 million degrees Celsius for an additional 20 seconds.
The goal of EAST is to create Sun-like energy using deuterium, a hydrogen isotope that is plentiful in the ocean and can provide a steady flow of clean energy. According to estimates, one liter of seawater contains enough deuterium to produce energy equivalent to 300 liters of gasoline.
China hopes that it can replace fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas with the fusion energy in order to achieve carbon neutrality and a more ecological society.
“It’s a huge achievement in China’s physics and engineering fields. The experiment’s success lays the foundation for China to build its own nuclear fusion energy station,” ASIPP director Song Yuntao said, according to People’s Daily.
The EAST artificial sun is also part of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, a joint effort by global scientists that includes the input of scientists from China, the European Union, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the United States.
Experts hope that if development proceeds at the current rate, successful nuclear fusion could be achieved within three decades.
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