How to Use the Solar Reference Pages
"The Sun NOW" page is very useful. All the pictures are current---meaning they are within a few hours or even a few minutes of NOW. Where you are doesn't matter because if the sun is out, the view is the same except for a difference in tilt.
What's it for?
The first image gives you a good idea if you can see prominences. Prominences are big flames stretching thousands of miles off the sun's surface. If you have a telescope for H-Alpha observing, the first picture is a good indication if there is anything dramatic to be seen.
The "white light" pictures show sunspots. You can see these with equipment supplied by SeeIntoSpace for less than $500. In fact, you can see more detail with our least expensive package than NASA's satellites show!
If there are sunspots on the white light images, you can see them. I use this to know when to run out with the telescope.
Finally, you have the image of the far side of the sun. This is a good predictor of what is coming our way. Sunspots are coming around if they show on the far side for a couple of consecutive days. It takes the sun about 27 days to make a full turn on its axis at its equator.. So a sunspot on our side will last about 10-12 days before rolling out of view.
Check these images often. They change many times throughout the day. You'll soon realize how active the sun is!