I woke early this morning hoping to get a chance to see the Venus-Jupiter conjunction in the East, but unfortunately there were clouds hugging the Rincon mountains east of Tucson and I was out of luck. Fortunes changed, however, as the clouds disappeared with the Sun and I was able observe the Sun in white light this morning. There is a massive active region in the southern hemisphere that has been popping off flares the past few days, and the region did not disappoint. The image at left is from SOHO, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, and you can see the NOAA active region numbers. Compare the size of Region 11520 (they leave off the first '1') to the Earth and Jupiter scale in the lower right of the image and you can get a sense of how massive this group is. Taken together, the three groups clustered in the southeast are easily naked eye sunspots and can be seen safely with only eclipse glasses. (And of course, DO NOT LOOK AT THE SUN WITHOUT A SPECIALIZED FILTER DESIGNED FOR THIS PURPOSE!!)
Below is my image of the Sun, taken at 7:11 AM this morning (1411 UT). Click to enlarge to full size.