A huge filament of magnetism and hot plasma blasted off the sun's southwestern limb today, March 19th, at around 1200 UT. The eruption was not Earth-directed, but it was iconic. Just look at this snapshot recorded by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory:

Solar Flare
© SpaceWeather
Many amateur astronomers in Europe witnessed the blast and said it was the biggest one they'd ever seen. This event continues the recent trend of increasing solar activity, and shows anew that Solar Cycle 24 is gaining steam after a long period of relative quiet.

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From P-M Hedén of Vallentuna, Sweden; from Sebastien Kersten of Le Cocq, Belgium; from Steve Wainwright of Gower S.Wales UK; from Strikis Iakovos - Marios of Athens Greece; from Günther Strauch of Borken, NRW, Germany; from Peter Desypris of Athens,Greece; from Emiel Veldhuis of Zwolle, the Netherlands.