Back-to-back eruptions on the sun sparked a geomagnetic storm last week, which generated dazzling auroras over the northern latitudes.
Observers from Maine to Sweden sent Space.com amazing photos of the auroral displays.
Night sky photographer Mike Taylor captured green and purple northern lights above Unity Pond in central Maine Friday night (Sept. 12). "No color saturation needed; Mother Nature provided a brilliant display of lights," Taylor said in an email. [See the amazing aurora photos after the double solar storms]
Chad Blakley, who snapped photos of the intense northern lights over Sweden's Lapland region, told us: "It is aurora season in Sweden so you know I am a happy man!"
In a description of a time-lapse video of the northern lights, Blakley wrote the display "will never be forgotten by the people that were lucky enough to witness the event."
On Monday (Sept. 8), a moderate solar flare shot off the sun, unleashing a wave of solar particles into space. Then on Wednesday (Sept. 10), an X-class solar flare — the biggest kind of solar flare — erupted from the same restless, Earth-facing spot on the sun.
The solar material blown out of the sun can sometimes trigger geomagnetic storms on Earth, which can temporarily disrupt GPS signals, radio communications and power grids. But, geomagnetic storms also have more benign effects — they can supercharge the northern and southern lights.
As early as last Friday (Sept. 12), photographers sent in images of auroras taken from upstate New York and Minnesota. The astronauts on board the International Space Station were even treated to a view of the northern lights.
Editor's Note: If you capture an amazing photo of the northern lights and would like to share the images with Space.com, you can send photos and comments in to managing editor Tariq Malik at firstname.lastname@example.org.