Does this strange dark ball look somehow familiar? If so, that might be because it is our Sun with colours inverted to show more detail of its incredible activity.
Visible in the above image of the Sun are long light filaments, dark active regions, prominences peeking around the edge, and a moving carpet of hot gas. The surface of our Sun has become a particularly busy place over the past two years because it is now nearing Solar Maximum, the time when its surface magnetic field is wound up the most.
Besides an active Sun being so picturesque, the plasma expelled can also become picturesque when it impacts the Earth's magnetosphere and creates auroras.
Click the green 'read me' for a larger view of image