(WASHINGTON) -- Red and pink streaks filled the sky across parts of the country after Earth’s magnetic field was hit by a coronal mass ejection, enabling the Northern Lights to be seen across the southeastern part of the United States.
The ejection hit on Monday at approximately 2 p.m. ET and was seen across Arkansas, Tennessee, northern Alabama, northern Mississippi and North Carolina.
The Northern Lights, also known as Aurora Borealis, occurs when energy particles from the sun interact with the earth’s magnetic field. Though the particles were emitted from the sun on Saturday, they only hit earth’s atmosphere Monday night.
The National Weather Service Space Weather Prediction Center said the coronal mass ejection arrived approximately eight hours earlier than model guidance suggested.
Geir Øye, a veteran observer of the Northern Lights from Norway, told spaceweather.com that this particular aurora was very powerful.
“These are the strongest and most beautiful auroras I’ve ever seen,” Øye said. “I can only imagine what the display must have been further north.”
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