The aurora borealis is rarely seen outside of the arctic regions, but last night people across Canada and the midwestern U.S. as far south as Georgia were treated to quite a show. To make the event even more noteworthy, the more uncommon color of red was on display.
USA Today reports that the spectacular show of Northern Lights was brought about by an immense solar storm that took place on Saturday and took two days to arrive here. The display was seen across Canada, the northern U.S., Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Indiana, and other locations.
The Northern Lights occur when charged particles blown away from the sun during solar flares interact with the magnetic field in the Earth’s atmosphere. Solar wind is responsible for pulling the shapes out into the familiar windsock shape that is associated with the phenomenon.
More pictures after the jump.
These photos were taken by Phil Dubois on October 24, 2011 in Maine, U.S.A. See his flickr account here.
While growing up in Missouri, I was treated to exactly ONE showing of the aurora borealis and I will never forget it. Nor that I would’ve missed it had my father not spotted it first and told me to get outside to enjoy it. The show was spectacular and seemed as close to anything “magical” that I had ever experienced.
I think if there was anything to happily waken children for in the middle of the night, it would be one of these rare displays. Good luck catching one!
To further sate your aurora borealis fever, watch this video of northern lights displays collected from NASA time lapse photography.