Solar activity is high. During a 24 hour period over May 13th and 14th, the sun unleashed three X-class solar flares. These are the strongest flares of the year so far, and they signal a significant increase in solar activity. The source of the flares, a large sunspot on the sun’s eastern limb, appears poised to erupt again as it turns toward Earth. Check http://spaceweather.com for updates and more information.
(Note by MG: The Sun produced another X-class (X1) flare at 01:52 UT on 15th May. These four X-class flares so far are all associated with AR1748)
Mark Payne has sent in some images of the recent solar activity:
Solar disk, taken by Mark Payne, showing a lifting prominence and at the 10 o’clock position on the limb is a bright spot showing the second of the three x-class flares (X2.8) which occurred in the previous 24 hours. This is located at the active region AR1748 which is moving around onto the earth facing side of the solar disc. This image was captured with a double stacked 50mm H-Alpha scope & DMK31 CCD on 13th May 2013 at 13:16:59
Lifting Prominence, taken by Mark Payne with a 100mm PST modded H-Alpha telescope, 1.6x barlow and DMK31 CCD on 13th May 2013 at 12:36:57
Remnants of the post-flare coronal loop from the third X-class flare which happened on the morning of 14th May 2013(X3.2), captured by Mark Payne using a 100mm PST modded H-Alpha telescope, 1.6x barlow and DMK31 CCD on 14th May 2013 at 14:10:03