Incredibly bright aurora borealis lights up Alberta’s night sky

An unusually bright aurora borealis was visible throughout much of Alberta late Monday night and into Tuesday morning.

From Fort McMurray to Lethbridge, stargazers were treated to a show of bright green light dancing across the sky. Some on social media reported seeing the lights from as far away as the midwestern United States and the United Kingdom. 

The display was courtesy of a moderate geomagnetic storm, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Geomagnetic storms are changes in the Earth’s magnetic field caused by solar flares.

The aurora as seen over Three Sisters Parkway in Canmore, Alta. (Submitted by Sherwin Calaluan)

The light display happens when particles from the sun are carried toward the planet’s ionosphere, and those particles collide with gas particles — releasing energy that’s visible as light.

Auroras are usually seen only in polar regions, but a particularly large burst of solar energy — or coronal ejection — caused Monday’s aurora to be seen much farther south than usual.

Luckily for those who missed it, plenty of sky watchers captured photos of the display. 

The northern lights were even visible over the bright lights in Cityscape in Calgary’s northeast. (Submitted by Mauryn Data)

The northern lights as seen from just southeast of Calgary. (Submitted by Floyd Santos)

Paul Emerson Almontero said he was overjoyed to see the northern lights for the first time since he immigrated to Canada from the Philippines four years ago. He took this picture near the community of Sage Hill just after midnight. (Submitted by Paul Emerson Almontero)

As seen from the southeastern Alberta city of Brooks. (Submitted by Armhel Gatela)

An oil pumpjack operates beneath the aurora borealis just north of Calgary. (Robson Fletcher/CBC)

As seen over Ghost Lake, west of Calgary. (Submitted by Cyndy Kaniski )

The aurora, seen from near Edmonton. (Submitted by Ray Wiens)

The aurora borealis seen over the west end of Edmonton. (Submitted by Pam Yap)

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