Our seemly placid host star is just full of surprises. Just one week ago, it looked like we were set to enter the first spotless stretch of 2016, as the Earthward face of Sol presented one lonely sunspot group going ’round the limb, headed towards the solar far side. Ah, but a few days can make all the difference when it comes to solar astronomy.

Late Sunday night we were flooded with new solar images taken by observers worldwide, showing the emergence of sunspot active region AR 2529. This monster spot is easily already number one with a bullet for 2016. And as Gadi Eidelheit based in Israel notes, you can already see AR 2529 without magnification, using solar filter glasses: FULL REPORT