Sunspot complex 1161-1162 quieted down over the weekend, producing few intense flares. Could it be the quiet before the storm? The tempestuous appearance of the region suggests more action could be in the offing. Rogerio Marcon sends this picture from his backyard observatory in Campinas SP Brasil:

© Rogerio MarconAR1161 and 1162 in h-alpha light. A big magnetic complex. Location: Campinas SP Brasil Image Taken: Feb. 20, 2011
Marcon recorded the image using an H-alpha filter tuned to the red glow of solar hydrogen. It reveals several dark magnetic cores, each larger than Earth itself, interconnected by turbulent arcs of magnetized plasma. Similar filters are now available in the Space Weather Store for readers who would like to see these 'spots with their own (safely filtered) eyes.

NOAA forecasters estimate a 60% chance of M-class solar flares during the next 24 hours. Stay tuned for action.

More Images:

From Pavol Rapavy of Observatory Rimavska Sobota, Slovakia; from Andy Burns of El Bosque, Sierra de Cadiz, Spain; from Raymond Lalonde of Cornwall, Ont, Canada; from Jan Timmermans of Valkenswaard, The Netherlands; from Luca Tesoro of Mercogliano (AV), Italy.