A welcome break in the weather offered me a look at Active Region 3363 near the southwest limb.
I had been following it online all week, but rain stopped play, as they say in Wimbledon. Some blue sky appeared, and I decided to have a look. I wondered if I would get a clear view with many high cirrus clouds hanging around. My first view through the PST was so compelling. Many defined shapes met my eye. The area looked so busy and extremely undulating. I decided to do a pencil drawing to capture something of the vista. My solar drawings in pastel take a lot of preparation. Pencil drawings tend to be faster to get together. Active region 3363 had to be captured.
Eventually, I managed to produce this drawing in-between cloud gaps.
I liked the shape of the Active Region. The negative shapes are the bright areas. Remember, I am looking through a PST solar telescope. My view is in the colours offered in h-alpha. Bright areas of plage arcing up and above the sunspot looked like long horns. My view of the sunspot was compromised by its location near the solar limb. Therefore less detail is available to me than if it was more central. Of course, many things can interfere with how well you see a sunspot. The quality and level of stillness in our atmosphere, clouds, wind, weather, and even your mood at the time.
Then, at 14:43 UT, two intensely bright areas developed above the sunspot. The colour of these flares was so vivid; it is not easy to describe it. Electric pink would be close, and this manifestation had a fluorescent aspect. So I added them in super white pastel to make them stand out in my black and white drawing.
I observed a few interesting prominences developing on the limb.
One had a rod-shaped section visually balanced on a normal-looking upright prom. It grew a perfectly circular tip that was brighter than the rest of it. So much activity around AR 3363, the sunspot, and the very busy disturbed shapes wrapped around the penumbra. The delicate prominences on the limb were mesmerising as they altered almost before my eye.
Massive eruption later
During the rest of the afternoon, I had the occasional look through cloud gaps.
This AR certainly had something pending. During the night, Active Region 3363 erupted, producing a fantastic explosion of energy. An M6 class solar event that lasted for several hours. Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this video. Very dramatic, so close to the limb. I am looking forward to seeing images of it on Spaceweather.