Monster Sunspot Triggers Big Solar Flares (Photos)

Sunspot AR1476 Viewed from Pisa, Italy #1

Giuseppe Petricca

Giuseppe Petricca of Pisa, Italy, sent in this photo taken on May 11, 2012. He writes that he used "my Nikon P90 and a wielding glass in front of the lenses. [This photo] has been taken during the afternoon, when the sun hid temporarily behind a tree."

[If you have sunspot AR1476 images you would like to share, please e-mail them to SPACE.com's managing editor Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com.]

Sunspot AR1476 Seen from Pisa, Italy #2

Giuseppe Petricca

Giuseppe Petricca of Pisa, Italy, sent in this photo of sunspot AR1476 taken May 11, 2012. He writes: "[This] evening was simply wonderful! No clouds on the horizon, only a little bit of haze. That gave me the best occasion to snap some pictures of the big sunspot AR1476, with my Nikon P90 and a welding glass in front of the lenses."

Sunspot AR1476 Seen from Pisa, Italy #3

Giuseppe Petricca

Giuseppe Petricca of Pisa, Italy, sent in this photo of sunspot AR1476 taken May 11, 2012. He writes: "[This] evening was simply wonderful! No clouds on the horizon, only a little bit of haze. That gave me the best occasion to snap some pictures of the big sunspot AR1476, with my Nikon P90 and a welding glass in front of the lenses."

Sunspot AR1476 Seen from Pisa, Italy #4

Giuseppe Petricca

Giuseppe Petricca of Pisa, Italy, sent in this photo of sunspot AR1476 taken May 11, 2012. He writes: "[This] evening was simply wonderful! No clouds on the horizon, only a little bit of haze. That gave me the best occasion to snap some pictures of the big sunspot AR1476, with my Nikon P90 and a welding glass in front of the lenses."

Sunspot AR1476 with Jupiter Size Comparison

SDO/NASA (via Twitter @Camilla_SDO)

Sunspot AR 1476 compared to the size of Jupiter. Image released May 10, 2012.

Solar Flare, May 9, 2012

NASA/SDO

The sun unleashed an M4.7 class flare at 8:32 EDT on May 9, 2012 as captured here by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. The flare was over quickly and there was no coronal mass ejection associated with it. This image is shown in the 131 Angstrom wavelength, a wavelength that is typically colorized in teal and that provided the most detailed picture of this particular flare.

Sunspot AR1476 with Earth Size Comparison

NASA/SDO (Via Twitter @Camilla_SDO)

Sunspot AR 1476 compared to the size of Earth. Image released May 10, 2012.

Sunspot, May 9, 2012

NASA/SDO

The upper left corner of this image of the sun shows the biggest and most complex sunspot visible on the sun as of May 9, 2012. It has produced 7 M-class flares so far, but has not produced any coronal mass ejections that could cause geomagnetic storms near Earth.

Monster Sunspot AR1476

NASA/SDO

The monster sunspot AR1476 (top left) turns into view in this image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory released on May 7, 2012.

Huge Sunspot Complex AR 1476

NASA/SDO

The monster sunspot group AR 1476 (upper left) measures more than 60,000 miles from end to end. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft snapped this photo on May 7, 2012.

[If you have sunspot AR1476 images you would like to share, please e-mail them to SPACE.com's managing editor Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com.]

Sunspot AR1476 Viewed from Turin, Italy

Skywatcher Stefano De Rosa sent this image of Sunspot AR1476.

Skywatcher Stefano De Rosa took this photo. He writes: "I took the image in the morning of May 10, 2012 from a vantage point … (the Cappuccini hill) in Turin (Italy). The majestic Sunspot AR 1476 appeared soon huge as I was focusing the camera through its LCD screen. The shot was carefully planned in advance in order to capture the sun rising alongside the Basilica of Superga (one of the symbols of Turin, located in the surroundings of the city)."

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