This image captures the 171 Angstrom wavelenght of extreme ultraviolet, showing plasma in the solar atmosphere, called the corona, that is aroung 600000 Kelvin.
On March 5 a large solar flare erupted from the Sun launching a coronal mass ejection (CME) into space (upper image) that is expected to reach the Earth today or tomorrow. (via ESA)
The bottom images were recorded the same day, before the solar flare, and they show:
an approximation of the Sun’s surface; the area with black spots surrounded by deep orange is a sunspot region, a place where magnetic energy is extremely intense but the surface is dimmer (and slightly cooler) in visible wavelengths [… and] the same area in extreme ultraviolet wavelengths (171 Angstroms); the sunspot region appears brighter in UV, radio, and other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. Looping lines reveal solar plasma that is rising and falling along magnetic field lines in the solar atmosphere, or corona. (via EarthObservatory)
The Sun is approaching solar maximum (the period of greatest activity in the solar cycle) this year and the next, .
23 January 2012 a large solar flare triggered a coronal mass ejection travelling at 1400 km/s.
A coronal mass ejection (CME) is a huge cloud of magnetised plasma from the Sun’s atmosphere – the corona – thrown into interplanetary space
CMEs can produce geomagnetic storms when they reach Earth.
Here you can watch an impressive video. (via ESA)
Following one of the longest and weakest periods of activity in many cycles, the Sun is brimming with activity again. In late January 2012, our nearest star offered a preview of what may be to come in the solar maximum of 2012–13. The storm has the potential to disrupt some communications and satellite systems and to bring auroras to high-latitude skies. (via earthobservatory)
Large twisting prominence (SOHO)
One of the 177 Antas, a distinctive form of megalithic tomb, found in the central part of the Alentejo region, Portugal, and in the provinces of Badajoz and Cáceres, in the Extremadura region, Spain. These tombs are thought to have been constructed from c. 4000 BC onwards. The range of orientations of the 177 monuments corresponds almost exactly to the range of possible rising positions of the Sun. (via IAU)