A colorful light show entered the sky over several parts of the U.S. over the weekend thanks to the Northern Lights finding their way south.

Why Could More Areas See The Northern Lights?

The Northern Lights, also known as aurora borealis, are regularly visible in Alaska and, on occasion, some parts of the Pacific Northwest.

Space.com describes the phenomenon as an event where "energized particles of the sun" collide with the upper atmosphere. The particles are redirected thanks to the Earth's magnetic field which then creates the colorful nighttime lights.

Conditions were a little out of the ordinary this past weekend. NPR attributes a solar storm as the reason the Northern Lights could be seen as far south as Alabama. 

NOAA used a more ominous nomenclature calling it "extreme geomagnetic storming."

Why Do The Northern Lights Change Colors?

If you spent any part of your weekend looking at social media, you probably saw plenty of photos of the Northern Lights from different parts of the U.S.

Some of those pics were pretty cool as they showcased a sky full of various colors. Others, however, just kind of looked like the sky was a different shade of blue. (Writer's note: I was one of the latter. Evidence can be seen below.)

Rob Carroll photo
Rob Carroll photo
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So, why were the Northern Lights colors better for some people?

NOAA says the aurora is most often green, but that can change depending on its altitude.

READ MORE: Summer Weather Forecast Predicting Absolutely Miserable Conditions

The agency explains "atmospheric compounds" can influence the color of the sky, creating blues and reds to go along with the shades of green.

Here is a look at some Northern Lights photos that are likely way better than what you've seen on social media.

LOOK: 34 Northern Lights Photos That Are Better Than What You Saw On Social Media

Space.com describes the phenomenon as an event where "energize particles of the sun" collide with the upper atmosphere. The particles are redirected thanks to the Earth's magnetic field which then creates the colorful nighttime lights. Conditions on May 10-12 helped push the Northern Lights farther south.

Gallery Credit: Rob Carroll

LOOKING UP: 40 Breathtaking Images Of The Perseid Meteor Shower Around The World

According to NASA, the Perseid meteor shower is "considered the best meteor shower of the year." The show typically peaks mid-August. For 2023, the shower peaked around the world between Aug. 12-14. The latest edition of the meteor shower created an extra special light show in the sky. Here is what the Perseid meteor shower looked like across the globe.

Gallery Credit: Rob Carroll

Sun's Out, Shades On: A Look Back at Eclipses Through the Ages

The United States is set to witness a historic total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024. Before you put on your safety glasses to look up, let's look back at the eclipses of the past.

Gallery Credit: Meg Dowdy

 

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