The Sun, in Mesmerizing 4K Video

the-sun
The surface of the sun, in this 4K video from NASA, reveals features never seen before. NASA / YOUTUBE

You see the sun (almost) every day, but never quite like this. NASA just released a high-definition 4K video of the surface of the sun that stretches for a mesmerizing half-hour.

The video was put together from images collected by the Solar Dynamics Observatory, which has been keeping a close eye on the sun since its launch in 2011, orbiting 22,000 miles above Earth. This spacecraft takes a snapshot of the sun every 12 seconds at 10 different wavelengths along the light spectrum, allowing scientists to examine materials of different temperature on the solar surface.

In the footage, you can see several different unique features of the sun. For example, there are a number of solar flares, sudden jets of brightness that can be accompanied by coronal mass ejections. Such ejections, caused by bubbles of gas in the sun surfacing, send streams of particles and ions that are normally deflected by Earth's magnetic field but which occasionally can break through and cause problems with satellite communications.

Researchers use the images and data gathered by the observatory to better understand the sun's complicated electromagnetic system.