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Watch Five Years of the Sun’s Explosions

A camera on the Hinode spacecraft has recorded the sun's X-rays for five years

Image: NASA

This video shows the last five years worth of X-ray images from our sun.

Wired explains where images came from:

The movie was taken with the X-ray camera aboard the Hinode spacecraft, which is jointly run by the Japanese space agency JAXA, NASA, and their international partners. It begins in January 2008, when the latest solar cycle officially started. At first, all is quiet. Around two minutes into the video, active regions start firing one at a time. From there on out, the sun’s surface is a roiling mass of teeming magnetic field lines and X-ray radiation that gets stronger and stronger. By the 4-minute mark, corresponding to the most recent months, the sun is continually shooting off enormous flares and energetic particles. The final burst-filled shots are from July, and the sun isn’t quite done yet.

More from Smithsonian.com:

NASA to Fly Mission Into the Sun
Why the Sun Was So Quiet for So Long

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About Rose Eveleth
Rose Eveleth

Rose Eveleth is a writer for Smart News and a producer/designer/ science writer/ animator based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, Story Collider, TED-Ed and OnEarth.

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