WATCH: Breathtaking 10-year time lapse of the solar cycle

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In February 2010, NASA launched the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), a first-of-its-kind spacecraft with one job to do: study the sun.

Now, using some of the 425 million photos the SDO has collected so far, NASA has created a stunning time-lapse depicting the sun’s solar cycle, an 11-year-long period bookended by the flipping of the star’s magnetic poles.