EDGE-ON SUNSPOT: Big sunspot AR1726 rotated off the Earthside of the sun this weekend, surmounting the west limb of the solar disk as it headed for the sun's farside. Amateur astronomer Harald Paleske of Langendorf, Germany, took the opportunity to photograph a sunspot, edge-on:
The last time we saw it clearly, AR1726 had a delta-class magnetic field that harbored energy for powerful X-class solar flares. The flare-threat has now shifted to the farside of the sun. Earth is safe, but Mercury and Mars are in the line of fire.
RESUMING COMMUNICATIONS WITH MARS: For much of April, NASA's communications with Mars have been suspended as the Red Planet passed behind the sun. Transmissions are resuming again this weekend. SOHO coronagraphs show Mars emerging from solar conjunction: [go to www.spaceweather.com to watch brief video]