Northern lights put on a show across parts of Canada and U.S.

Blinding displays of the nnorthern llights wowed skygazers across parts of Canada and the United States Monday night, after a powerful solar flare supercharged the aurora borealis.

Amazing light shows have been reported in several western and midwestern states, including Montana, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

The nnorthern llights, or aurora borealis, comes from charged particles that erupt from the sun during solar storms. The colorful light displays are created when these clouds of energetic particles collide with Earth’s magnetic field and interact with the atoms and molecules in the upper atmosphere of the planet.

The northern lights typically light up the night sky at high latitudes, but during intense periods of solar activity, they can sometimes be spotted further south than normal.

The auroras seen overnight on Monday were due to an eruption known as a coronal mass ejection that occurred on the sun on Saturday. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Space Weather Prediction Center said in an alert early Tuesday that it was tracking a “strong” geomagnetic storm, adding that sightings of the northern lights were possible across a host of states from Oregon to Pennsylvania, weather permitting.

The northern lights usually appear as shimmering curtains or columns of green and purple light, but depending on the composition and density of the atmosphere, it is also possible to see red, blue and pink hues.

An affiliate of the National Weather Service in Aberdeen, South Dakota, shared photos late Monday of spectacular green and purple lights dancing across the night sky.

In Glasgow, Montana, clouds threatened to spoil the show, but patient skygazers were still treated to some awesome displays, according to weather service officials.

NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center maintains an aurora panel which provides short-term forecasts of the northern lights. If conditions are clear, auroras are best seen from places that are dark and away from city lights.

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