AR2192 is shaping up to be the biggest sunspot in many years. Its area is now approaching that of AR0496, the last great sunspot of the previous solar cycle, which covered 2610 millionths of the solar disc on Oct. 30, 2003. As of 0h UT today AR 2192 is 2410 millionths. (Thanks to Geoff Chester of the US Naval Observatory for this comparison.) Because the sunspot is so large--now about as wide as the planet Jupiter--people are beginning to notice it at sunset when the sun is dimmed by clouds or haze. Pilot Brian Whittaker took this picture on Oct. 21st while flying 36,000 ft over Resolute, Nunavut, Canada:
Photographers beware: Do not look at the sun through unfiltered optics. Even when dimmed by clouds or haze, sunlight amplified by camera lenses can cause serious eye damage. If you decide to photograph the low-hanging sun, use your camera's LCD screen for viewfinding. Better yet, buy a solar telescope.