A few sunspots are now 'peppering" the surface of our Sun—Spaceweather.com lists about 12 different sunspot groups today. Yesterday (January 7, 2013), astrophotographer John Chumack stepped outside over his lunch break and captured some cool-looking views of the Sun from his observatory in Ohio, using different filters.
See more below, plus the Solar Dynamics Observatory has a spectacular video of coronal loops on the Sun during January 5 through 7.
The video shows the 171 angstroms channel, which is especially good at showing coronal loops – the arcs extending off of the Sun where plasma moves along the magnetic field lines, said the SDO team. The brightest spots seen here are locations where the magnetic field near the surface is exceptionally strong. The characteristic temperature here is 1 million K (or 1.8 million F).
Many of these loops could fit several Earths inside of them.
Different views from different filters from John Chumack:
See more of John's work at his website, Galactic Images, or his Flickr page.
Explore further: Prelude to an X-Class solar flare