TECH
18/12/2013 10:49 GMT

Nasa's SDO Sun Video Shows Solar Light In Rainbow Of Amazing Different Wavelengths

Nasa's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) is laden with all manner of Sun-watching technology and is capable of detecting a wide range of light wave-lengths.

Usually, footage released by the space agency contains only one of these to highlight a specific phenomenon but a new video shows the breathtaking range side-by-side for comparison.

The SDO converts the light into one that humans can see creating a rainbow of colours.

sdo

A still from Nasa's incredible video

Nasa said:

As the colours sweep around the sun in the movie, viewers should note how different the same area of the sun appears. This happens because each wavelength of light represents solar material at specific temperatures. Different wavelengths convey information about different components of the sun's surface and atmosphere, so scientists use them to paint a full picture of our constantly changing and varying star.

Yellow light of 5800 Angstroms, for example, generally emanates from material of about 10,000 degrees F (5700 degrees C), which represents the surface of the sun. Extreme ultraviolet light of 94 Angstroms, which is typically colourised in green in SDO images, comes from atoms that are about 11 million degrees F (6,300,000 degrees C) and is a good wavelength for looking at solar flares, which can reach such high temperatures.

By examining pictures of the sun in a variety of wavelengths – as is done not only by SDO, but also by NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, NASA's Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory and the European Space Agency/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory -- scientists can track how particles and heat move through the sun's atmosphere.