Watching Danny Boyle's movie Sunshine prompted me to attempt my own implementation of the solar observation room seen in the movie. My implementation uses live imagery from the NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory.
Version 1 of my solar observatory is a bash script which uses wget and ImageMagick to download and combine together images of the sun at various wavelengths to produce a wallpaper image. If the script is triggered as a cron job, to execute every 10 minutes, the wallpaper will stay up-to-date.
Install the script in a location where temporary files and the resultant file can be created.
Version 2 will improve upon version 1 by using SDO imagery in the raw FITS format with contains 16-bits per channel intensity. This will provide a much greater dynamic range in the input data which I can use as a source for bloom and lens flare effects.
I'm particular interested in making an implementation of this technique: