You can't stare at the sun — we all know that.
But NASA can. And they did. For a year.
The result? Mind-blowing images of the sun like you've never seen it before.
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory observed the sun for an entire year.
The findings will help us understand where the sun gets its energy, how the sun's insides work and how it emits energy into its very own atmosphere.
The animation below shows a yearlong time lapse of the sun's atmosphere as it rotates. This sight is undetectable by the human eye.
The dark, raised filaments on the sun's surface are suspended in its atmosphere by electromagnetic fields.
"Filaments are dark strands of plasma tethered above the sun's surface by magnetic forces that, over time, often become disrupted and break away from the sun," the SDO team wrote a statement.
"Filaments appear darker than the surrounding material because of their comparatively cool temperature."
This is the moon photobombing the sun. Twice. The nerve.
And this is a festive solar flair perfectly timed on Cinco de Mayo.
The SDO is a revolutionary space satellite. Every 36 seconds, the satellite fills an entire CD with data. The satellite is designed to stay in flight for five years.