This ultraviolet image of the Sun shows one of the largest solar flares ever seen. The flare, which erupted in November 2003, is the bright region along the Sun's right limb. The horizontal "spikes" extending to the right and left of the flare are not real; they are an artifact produced by the imaging instrument, which was overloaded by the intense brightness of this flare.
Image courtesy SOHO (NASA & ESA).