Readers with solar telescopes, train your optics on the sun's northeastern limb. A big sunspot with an active magnetic canopy is emerging there. And that's not all...

Today around 1200 UT, magnetic fields looping over the sun's southeastern limb became unstable and erupted. The blast produced a towering prominence dozens of times taller than Earth itself:

© David Evans
David Evans took the picture from his backyard observatory in Coleshill, North Warwickshire, UK. "This was a huge event," he says. "It just goes to show how the sun can surprise observers even at this 'low' phase of the solar cycle."

Stay tuned for movies of this event from the Solar Dynamics Observatory.

more images: from Alan Friedman of Buffalo, NY; from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, West Sussex, UK; from Steve Rismiller of Milford, Ohio; from A. Cote, S.Berube and J.Stetson of South Portland, Maine; from Stephen Ames of Hodgenville, Kentucky.