Rare, Magnificent Northern Lights Seen in US, South

October 26, 2011; 8:05 AM ET
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Amazing time lapse of the Aurora in Michigan on Oct. 24, 2011, from YouTube user lakefxnet.

There was a rare and beautiful display of the Northern Lights across parts of the U.S., as far south as Georgia, Monday night.

The green and red glow of the Aurora Borealis was seen in the midlatitudes due to a strong geomagnetic storm in progress. NOAA describes a geomagnetic storm as a disturbance "in the geomagnetic field caused by gusts in the solar wind that blows by Earth". The Northern Lights occur when the solar wind interacts with the Earth's magnetic field.

A large dome of high pressure over the lower Mississippi Valley promoted generally clear viewing conditions of the Northern Lights across the balance of the Southeast and parts of the Midwest and the Northeast.


Unfortunately, clouds and some rain began to roll eastward into portions of the Upper Midwest ahead of a storm in the northern Rockies. The rain streaked across North Dakota, northern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin. This blocked the view of the peak of the phenomenon for some communities.

A cold front in the Northeast brought some hindering clouds and showers to some cities and towns. Thick clouds hovered over the major I-95 cities like Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York City.

This photo of the Northern Lights was captured in Beavercreek, Ohio, which is located east of Dayton, at 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 24, 2011. It was submitted by AccuWeather.com Facebook Fan Joseph L.

This photo of the Northern Lights captured in Ontario, Canada, on Oct. 24, 2011, was submitted by AccuWeather.com Fan Ralph F.

If you have any photos or videos of the rare Northern Lights on Monday night, be sure to share them on the AccuWeather.com Facebook page or with @breakingweather on Twitter. Also, check out the AccuWeather.com Astronomy Facebook page for more pictures, reports and discussions!

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