I have spent the past two days at the Annual Meeting of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific and had intended to write a brief post about that conference this morning...of course, being the avid amateur astronomer that I am, I could not resist the urge to observe the Sun and take her picture instead.
Seeing conditions were average this morning with a fair bit of haze and an unusual amount of turbulence for the early hour. The image below was taken at 1540 UT (7:40 AM MST) with the Sun at an altitude of approximately 24 degrees. You can see a fair bit of the facula (the bright regions surrounding the spots) on the East limb of the Sun, at left. The Sun rotates from East to West, so these regions on the limb could be visible for up to approximately two weeks moving across the face of the Sun, should they persist as the Sun slowly rotates. Click the image to enlarge it to full size.
For comparison, here is an image captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory's Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) at 1500 UT, 40 minutes prior to my image...keep in mind that SDO has the advantage of being in space with no atmospheric distortion, and no camera shake from the imager: