NASA Shows Off Its 4K Sun Images


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There's a cost associated with being an early adopter, and it's not just the higher prices. New media formats consistently outpace the rate at which content creators can adapt to the new formats. As a result, early adopters pay exorbitant sums for tech to display boring demo footage for months before ESPN finally updates its broadcast technology, which happens coincide with the release of the second, better generation of devices.

With HDTV, customers were often left watching nature footage and landscapes. With the 4K TV revolution just starting, TV manufacturers are going to need some content that shows customers what they're missing with their crappy 1080p displays. Luckily, NASA has a suggestion.

Astronomers at NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) for some time have been using an Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) and Helioseismic Magnetic Imager (HMI) to take ultra high-definition images twice as large as anything seen on the displays at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Every second.

As of last month, the SDO had taken 100 million images. NASA bragged that if they were watched at 30 frame sper second there would be enough footage to watch eight hours a day for nearly four months. That's a lot of staring at the sun.

It's unclear whether NASA is actually promising 4K content for showrooms or whether the agency just used the excuse of CES to show off its SDO photos. Either way, more SDO images and video, mostly of solar eruptions and flares, can be found on NASA's SDO website.

(Image courtesy NASA/GSFC/SDO)