For the past three years, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory has had an uninterrupted view of the sun. This exquisitely detailed video now shows those three years at a pace of two images per day, chronicling the sun's rise toward solar maximum.

Watching this video you can easily see the sun's 25-day rotation and how its solar activity increased over that time. The image is surprisingly stable given that the SDO spacecraft's distance to the sun is changing over time, that it's orbiting the Earth at 6,876 mph, and that the Earth is orbiting the sun at 67,062 mph.

Here are some neat events to look for in the video:

  • 00:30;24 Partial eclipse by the moon
  • 00:31;16 Roll maneuver
  • 01:11;02 August 9, 2011 X6.9 Flare, currently the largest of this solar cycle
  • 01:28;07 Comet Lovejoy, December 15, 2011
  • 01:42;29 Roll Maneuver
  • 01:51;07 Transit of Venus, June 5, 2012
  • 02:28;13 Partial eclipse by the moon

Source: NASA.