Magnetic fields overlying sunspot 1087 became unstable and erupted yesterday. The explosion emitted a bright flash of UV light (a C3-class solar flare) and hurled a massive plume of hot plasma away from the sun. Click on the image to watch the action unfold:

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) recorded the 1.5-hour time-lapse movie beginning at 1950 UT on July 9th. SDO has been busy since sunspot 1087 materialized, recording B- and C-class flares every few hours. So far none of the eruptions has been Earth-directed, but this could change in the days ahead as the active region turns to face our planet. Stay tuned for space weather.

More images: from Cai-Uso Wohler of Bispingen, Germany; from Jan Timmermans of Valkenswaard, The Netherlands; from Didier Favre of Brétigny-sur-Orge, France; from Peter Desypris of Syros, Greece; from Andreas Murner of Rosenheim, Bavaria, Germany