Via spaceweather.com, 11 May 2013 - M-CLASS SOLAR FLARE: A sunspot located just behind the sun's northeastern limb erupted during the early hours of May 10th, producing an M3-class solar flare. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the explosion's extreme ultraviolet flash: movie. The farside active region will turn toward Earth in the days ahead, so stay tuned.
"RING OF FIRE" SOLAR ECLIPSE: As the sun rose over Australia on Friday morning, May 10th, the solar disk turned into a ring of fire. The day began with an annular solar eclipse:
Nicole Hollenbeck took the picture from inside the narrow path of annularity about 70km south of Newman, Australia. At the time, more than 95% of the sun's diameter was covered by the Moon.
In an annular eclipse the Moon is not quite big enough to cover the entire solar disk. A blinding ring of solar fire juts out around the Moon, overwhelming the sun's delicate corona. It may not be the same as totality, but annularity has a charm and beauty all its own. Browse the gallery for more images from the eclipse zone.
SPECTACULAR PROMINENCE, GONE: For the past few days, astronomers around the world have been monitoring a bushy filament of magnetism dancing along the sun's western limb. Sergio Castillo of Inglewood CA photographed the structure on May 9th just before it collapsed:
"OMG! This giant prominence was one of the most spectacular I have ever witnessed," says Castillo. "Yesterday, however, it collapsed on its own magnetic field and nothing remains of it."
The filament has disappeared from the sun, but all 250,000 km of it may still be found in the space weather photo gallery.