These images of the Sun were taken at the Phoebe Waterman Haas Public Observatory at 2:30 pm on November 6, 2013.
2013 was the most active year in solar activity since 2000. Solar activity increases and decreases according to a cycle roughly around 11 years. So the next time scientists expect to see this much activity shouldn’t be until around 2024!
The sunspot group you see on the left is AR1890. At almost 11 times the size of Earth, it is one of the largest sunspot groups we’ve seen in the last decade. The day before these images were taken, AR1890 unleashed an X3-class solar flare. On November 8 and 10, 2013, the sunspot group gave off two more X1-class flares.
The Sun also contains an enormous filament, the curved, dark formation off on the lower right. Filaments and prominences form when gas and plasma from the Sun follow magnetic loops in the Sun’s magnetic field.
Telescope: Lunt 100mm hydrogen-alpha
Camera: Lumenera SKYnyx 2-2M
Image Number: WEB13691-2014
Credit: Image by Smithsonian Staff, Phoebe Waterman Haas Public Observatory
For print or commercial use please see our permissions page.