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Watch: Our living, breathing sun

Watch the video above: The sun over the last four years as seen from the Solar Dynamics Observatory.

TORONTO – The sun is no sleeping giant: It is a living, breathing beast where the continual dance of gases and reactions provide the sunlight that brings life to our small oasis.

And we always have eyes on our nearest star.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), a telescope in space that keeps a constant eye on our sun, celebrated its four-year anniversary with a captivating video of some of the best sun-shots.

The observatory launched on Feb. 11, 2010.

READ MORE: Watch: Incredible timelapse of aurora over Sweden

Throughout the video the sun’s dance of plasma and gases is captured in 10 different wavelengths. Scientists use these wavelengths to study different structures on the sun, such as solar flares or coronal loops. The loops are streams of solar material that follow the sun’s magnetic field lines. The video also includes sunspots — the largest grouping of cooler parts of the sun in nine years.

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In another example of our active sun, the SDO imaged a solar filament on Monday as its shockwave rippled through the sun’s atmosphere.

A flare erupts from the surface of the sun on Feb. 17, 2014.
A flare erupts from the surface of the sun on Feb. 17, 2014. SDO/NASA