Huffpost Science

Minnesota Northern Lights 2012: Aurora Borealis Lights Up North Star State (VIDEO)

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The aurora borealis put on a dazzling show in more than a dozen states Monday night, according to SpaceWeather.com.

A particularly spectacular display was seen in Fergus Falls in western Minnesota, and Douglas Kiesling was on hand to film a stunning time-lapse video of the event, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

VIDEO AT TOP

Kiesling, a videographer specializing in documenting extreme weather, tweeted during the storm that he was witnessing among the best northern lights display he's ever seen:


Doug Kiesling
The roof the roof the freaking sky is on fire. Seeing some of the best of my life tonight.

According to the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, an aurora is caused by the collision of electrons from space with atoms and molecules of gases (like oxygen and nitrogen) in the Earth's atmosphere. This collision results in a transfer of energy to the oxygen's electrons, and, as a result, quick bursts of light are emitted. A great number of these collisions create the light that's visible to the naked eye.

The National Weather Service's Space Weather Prediction Center reports that a moderate geomagnetic storm occurred on Monday night. The geomagnetic storm was caused by a partial halo coronal mass ejection -- a burst of solar wind -- that occurred on April 19.

Another coronal mass ejection may pass Earth on Thursday, although the storm is predicted to be relatively minor.

For some great pictures of Monday night's aurora display over Lake Michigan, click over to Chicagoist.

Also on The Huffington Post

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