Stunning Northern Lights shine amid solar storm (photos)

Auroras can be generated when the sun belches out particles that hit the Earth's upper atmosphere.
(Image credit: Terry Zaperach/NASA, CC BY-SA)

Particles screaming into Earth's atmosphere from the sun created beautiful northern lights across northern high latitudes of our planet late Sunday (Aug. 7) and early Monday (Aug. 8).

Skywatchers in Canada and the United Kingdom were among those that got to enjoy the stunning auroras, generated after charged particles blasted from the sun and interacted with Earth's upper atmosphere.

"Great to have another visit from the northern lights, a.k.a. Aurora Borealis here at Brancaster Staithe in North Norfolk early this morning," Gary Pearson, a photographer near the northeastern coast of Britain, tweeted of the storm.

Thousands of kilometers away in Manitoba, Canada, the storm created shimmers of purple and green on the horizon. "Amazing colors and structures," tweeted Deb Maluk after witnessing the storm there.

Related: Hyperactive sunspot just hurled a huge X-class solar flare into space

The event was a "surprise geomagnetic storm," SpaceWeather stated, after a stream of solar particles hit the Earth on Sunday. The velocity sped up to 373 miles a second (600 km/s), which was enough to cause a moderate-sized G2 class storm despite it not being forecast.

If you need equipment to capture the best aurora, consider our best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography to make sure you're ready. We also have a beginner's guide on how to photograph the aurora.

If you captured a stunning photo of the northern lights let us know! You can send in images and comments to by emailing Be sure to let us know your name, where you were observing from and what it was like to see the auroras.

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: