Northern lights put on dazzling celestial display as solar storm blasts Earth

The aurora borealis are lighting up the sky this week, putting on a dazzling display for stargazers in parts of the U.S. as solar winds lash the Earth.

Coronal eruptions on the sun are sending an intense blast of high-speed charged particles through the solar system, according to National Geographic, and that's resulting in a colorful exhibit of the northern lights over parts  of the western U.S. and Canada.

"The gaseous stream is flowing from a wide hole in the sun's atmosphere, and our planet is expected to remain inside it for at least another 24 hours," reported Wednesday.

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The northern lights will be most visible from Nov. 7 to Nov. 9 with the most intense displays in the Arctic regions, but people in in the western U.S. may be able to see an amazing light show as well, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The colorful, flashing lights are caused when the sun’s electrically charged particles collide with the Earth’s atmosphere around the magnetic north and south poles.

An aurora on March 8, 2012 shimmering over snow-covered mountains in Faskrudsfjordur, Iceland. 

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