Spectacular Auroras from Solar Storms Wow Stargazers (Photos, Video)

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]

Night sky photographer Mike Taylor captured this spectacular view of auroras over Unity Pond in Waldo County, Maine on Sept. 12, 2014. The northern lights were amplified by intense solar storms earlier in the week. (Image credit: Mike Taylor Photography)

This auroral display was captured by photographer Chad Blakley over Lapland, Sweden on Sept. 12, 2014 in the wake of two intense solar storms that amplified the view. (Image credit: Chad Blakley/Lights Over Lapland)

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.

Guide Mat Richardson, who works with night sky photographer Chad Blakley, captured this photo of the northern lights over Sweden on Sept. 12, 2014 after two recent solar storms charged up the display. (Image credit: Mat Richardson)

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 spacephotos@space.com.

Follow Megan Gannon on Twitter and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on Space.com.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.

Megan Gannon
Space.com Contributing Writer

Megan has been writing for Live Science and Space.com since 2012. Her interests range from archaeology to space exploration, and she has a bachelor's degree in English and art history from New York University. Megan spent two years as a reporter on the national desk at NewsCore. She has watched dinosaur auctions, witnessed rocket launches, licked ancient pottery sherds in Cyprus and flown in zero gravity on a Zero Gravity Corp. to follow students sparking weightless fires for science. Follow her on Twitter for her latest project.