An animation of the sun, seen by NASA's Extreme ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (EIT) over the course of 6 days, starting June 27, 2005 (Courtesy of SOHO/EIT consortium).
The Sun is now in the quietest phase of its 11-year activity cycle, the solar minimum - in fact, it has been unusually quiet this year - with over 200 days so far with no observed sunspots. The solar wind has also dropped to its lowest levels in 50 years. Scientists are unsure of the significance of this unusual calm, but are continually monitoring our closest star with an array of telescopes and satellites. Seen below are some recent images of the Sun in more active times.
More pictures on boston.com.