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The Sun: One year in one image

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This stunning image shows one year's activity on the Sun.

The composite of 25 separate images spans the period of 16 April 2012, to 15 April 2013.

In the three years since it first provided images of the sun in the spring of 2010, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory has had virtually unbroken coverage of the sun's rise toward solar maximum, the peak of solar activity in its regular 11-year cycle.

SDO's Atmospheric Imaging Assembly captures a shot of the sun every 12 seconds in 10 different wavelengths and reveals the zones on the sun where active regions are most common during this part of the solar cycle.

Try this out (this is nothing to do with NASA, this is just us messing with your eyes). Stare at this gif for 30 seconds then stare at the sun again. Pretty cool.

Okay, back to NASA stuff. A video of the activity shows that the sun subtly increases and decreases in apparent size. This is because the distance between the SDO spacecraft and the sun varies over time.

Image: NASA/GSFC/SDO/Rex Features

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