Solar Disk, July 9, 2008. This photograph was taken with a hydrogen alpha scope that only shows one wavelength of light, at 656.3 nanometres. This is the particular wavelength of hydrogen alpha light. Observing the Sun in hydrogen alpha makes it possible to see structural details.
Currently the Sun is near the low point of its eleven year activity cycle. During this quiet period few if any sunspots are seen, and each day only a couple of modest sized solar prominences (like those on the right-hand side of this photo) make an appearance. There have been some indications that the new solar cycle has started, and that it will bring more activity in the coming years, probably peaking in the years around 2012.
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