Ever wondered what a year-long timelapse of the sun looks like?

Some people enjoy streaming video of an imitation fire to brighten up their winter evenings (7.5 million views), but personally, I’d rather have something equally hypnotic, but significantly more magnificent like, say, the sun fusing hydrogen atoms into helium.

NASA to the rescue. The space agency’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has celebrated its sixth birthday by releasing a wonderful timelapse video of just over a year’s solar activity compressed into a six and a half minute video.

The period in question runs from 1 January 2015 all the way to 28 January 2016, with each frame on YouTube representing two hours of Earth time. If that’s not good enough for you, you can download a 59.94fps version direct from NASA.

The video’s images are based on a wavelength of 171 angstroms, showing solar material hotter than 500,000 degrees Celsius. You may notice that the sun seems to subtly change size over the course of the video – that’s because the distance between the SDO and the sun changes over time. Considering the SDO orbits the Earth at 6,876mph, and the Earth orbits the sun at 67,062mph, it’s still impressively stable.

In the video description, NASA explains the rationale for studying the sun in such detail. “Scientists study these images to better understand the complex electromagnetic system causing the constant movement on the sun, which can ultimately have an effect closer to Earth, too: flares and another type of solar explosion called coronal mass ejections can sometimes disrupt technology in space,” it reads.

READ NEXT: Want to see the solar system to scale? Check out this seven mile model in the Nevada desert

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