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Stunning northern lights from intense solar storms thrill stargazers (photos)

An aurora shines above west central Saskatchewan, Canada in this image taken March 30, 2022 by photographer Jenny Hagan. (Image credit: Jenny Hagan/Backroad Photography)

A series of solar storms aimed at Earth this week have supercharged the Earth's auroras, creating dazzling displays like this view over a rural cabin in Canada captured by an astrophotographer. 

Photographer Jenny Hagan captured this photo of the northern lights as they rippled with green and red hues over west central Saskatchewan amid several outbursts from the sun in recent days. 

"The night sky offers so much to see from our small space on Earth," Hagan told Space.com in an email. 

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

On Wednesday night and Thursday early morning, skywatchers like Hagan saw auroras in Canada, the northern parts of the U.S. and in New Zealand from several moderate-sized solar flares earlier in the week

Satellites including NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory caught the flaring action from space, and Hagan saw the resulting light show effects of coronal mass ejections (streams of irradiated solar particles) hitting Earth's magnetic field during the space weather event. Hagan captured the image (and several more, as you can see in this story) with a Canon 80D, mounted on a tripod and open for a three-second timelapse. "The night sky offers so much to see from our small space on Earth," Hagan said, adding that "satellites, and stars contribute to the light that break through the dark.

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.

Hagan was also able to capture a stunning timelapse of the sky from her vantage point.

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"Just south of the small village of Laporte ... I set up by an old 1950s abandoned farm house," Hagan told Space.com in an e-mail. Hagan was working in the prairie (grassland) nearly three hours southwest of the city of Saskatoon.

"Sights like these are plentiful here in rural Saskatchewan, the land of the living sky," Hagan continued, "and the relics of the past offer up great foreground for the wide open views of our sky." You can find more of Hagan's work at BackRoadPhotos.ca and on Instagram.

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Hagan was far from the only skywatcher to see the northern lights this week from the sun's flares. Here's just a taste of what skywatchers with clear dark skies in the northern parts of North America saw and shared online.

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

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or on Facebook.

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022. She was contributing writer for Space.com (opens in new tab) for 10 years before that, since 2012. As a proud Trekkie and Canadian, she also tackles topics like diversity, science fiction, astronomy and gaming to help others explore the universe. Elizabeth's on-site reporting includes two human spaceflight launches from Kazakhstan, three space shuttle missions in Florida, and embedded reporting from a simulated Mars mission in Utah. She holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, and a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science since 2015. Her latest book, Leadership Moments from NASA, is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday.