Five Years Of The Sun In One Beautiful Time-Lapse

The Solar Dynamics Observatory has, for the last five years, been doing something that we can only dream of: it has been staring at the sun.

Much like that iconic scene in Danny Boyle's 'Sunshine' the observatory has been soaking up every ray of light, radiation and information to help us better understand the star that has the potential to give us life and yet take it away in a matter of minutes.

Orbiting the Earth at a distance of 35,789km, the SDO is able to take pictures with a level of clarity that had previously been impossible from down here on the surface.

Thanks to the terabytes of imagine data it collects we've been able to see patterns on the Sun's surface helping us to better predict Solar Flares - the phenomena that on the one hand produces the Northern Lights, but in the other could cause massive damage to our electrical grid.

Over 2000 scientific papers have been produced as a result of the imagery collected by the SDO and while for the academic world they're simply for study, for the rest of us they've proven to be a beautiful and haunting glimpse at the fiery object that is keeping us alive.