Lots of news at spaceweather.com:
As well as this:FANTASTIC PROMINENCE: A long filament of magnetism circling the sun's north pole is rising into space, producing a truly fantastic prominence. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory took this picture just hours ago:
The extreme ultraviolet image shows a cloud of hot (60,000 K) plasma held suspended above the stellar surface by filamentary magnetic forces. The structure is five times taller than Earth and at least 20 times as long. These dimensions make it a fine target for backyard solar telescopes as well as advanced spacecraft.
If the filament becomes unstable and collapses (as magnetic filaments often do), plasma hitting the stellar surface could explode, resulting in a type of flare called a "Hyder flare." To whet your appetite for action, browse the filament in stunning 4096x4096 resolution.
Blue comet coming in close, too:Sunspot 1078 has developed a complex "beta-gamma" magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Credit: SOHO/MDI
COMET MCNAUGHT: A fresh comet is swinging through the inner solar system, and it is brightening rapidly as it approaches the sun. Presenting, Comet McNaught (C/2009 R1):
Amateur astronomer John Chumack of Yellow Springs, Ohio, caught the comet passing by galaxy NGC 891 just before sunrise on June 8th. "I used a 5.5 inch telescope and a Canon Rebel Xsi digital camera to take this 15 minute exposure," he says. "It also looked great through binoculars."
Comet McNaught can be found low in the northeastern sky before dawn gliding through the constellation Perseus. It is brightening as it approaches Earth for a 1.13 AU close encounter on June 15th and 16th. Currently, the comet is at the threshold of naked eye visibility (6th magnitude) and could become as bright as the stars of the Big Dipper (2nd magnitude) before the end of the month. Because this is the comet's first visit to the inner solar system, predictions of future brightness are necessarily uncertain; amateur astronomers should be alert for the unexpected. [ephemeris] [3D orbit] [Sky & Telescope: sky map, full story]