NASA Filmed the Sun For 5 Years And Squeezed It Down Into This 3 Minute Time-lapse

To celebrate the fifth anniversary of their Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) yesterday,NASA released this comprehensive time-lapse of our amazing sun. Although it spans 5 years of footage, with one frame captured every 8 hours, they condensed the spinning star dance into 3 minutes. According to NASA, “The different colors represent the various wavelengths (sometimes blended, sometimes alone) in which SDO observes the sun.” And the best part about this video is that you can stare at the sun, at a range you could never see it in real life, without even damaging your vision!

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Mapping the Surface Area of Other Solid Surfaces in Our Solar System

You’re probably familiar with visualizations comparing the relative size of the planets, but this visualization is different. xkcd has created a map-like look at the solid surfaces of the Solar System, stitched together like countries on a single continent. The graphic includes planets, moons, asteroids and dwarf planets, but leaves out dust, small rocks and large gaseous planets like Jupiter and Saturn. It’s a revealing look at the size of our neighbors.

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This Lux Planetarium Watch Tracks the Orbits of the Planets

If you need a little perspective on where you are in your day, this might be the watch for you. Called the Midnight Planétarium, it features six of the solar system’s planets and an astounding 396 moving parts to make them orbit accurately. From Mercury’s quick 88-day orbit around the sun, to Earth’s 365 day trip (you knew that right?), the watch finishes with Saturn and its 29.5 year circle around the sun. Blazing a circle on the outer ring is a shooting star.

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A Smart Animation Explores the Magnitude of our Solar System [Infographic]

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The last time I went to the planetarium it was in Delhi, India. I didn’t expect much from the domed structure with swarms of kids inside, but in fact I was blown away. It’s a hard thing to show the magnitude of the universe and impress people with its true scale – but even the rough idea I saw that day was mind blowing. This video from German design trio Kurzgesagt takes a whole different angle, impressing us with facts about the form of our solar system in flat infographic form. The result is informative and even jaw dropping when you consider the facts.

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Visual Bits #287 > Traveling Through Space

Check out your links after the jump.

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Space Race: Huge Graphic Reveals the Size of Our Galaxy

The people over at Future, a wing of the BBC, have been hard at work thinking of a question bigger than this: how big is space? They tried and tried, and when they were stumped as to what could possibly be bigger than space, they set out to illustrate it. What transpired is something colossal. Something so big it couldn’t be squeezed into one image in Photoshop, but four separate images that had to be stitched together for out viewing pleasure. Printed out, the graphic spans 27 pages of A4 paper.

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