The Northern Lights: Ideal conditions led to stunning views

The aurora borealis, or Northern Lights, put on a mesmerizing show several nights in the past week, prompting people across Europe and North America to share stunning videos of the atmospheric phenomenon.

The sun launched what is called an "X-class solar flare" on Oct. 28, sending energy trailed by a cluster of solar plasma and other material called a coronal mass ejection, or CME, towards the earth. That prompted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to issue a warning about a potentially strong geomagnetic storm.

This meant that a large swath of the Northern Hemisphere got a chance to see Northern Lights over Halloween weekend and in the days after on clear nights. 

For example, residents of northern Scotland were treated to the dazzling night-time display. A  time-lapse video taken in front of the Cantick Head Lighthouse in Orkney shows the light show on the night before Halloween.

And in Iceland, the Meteorological Office on Oct. 30 encouraged the public to "look up to the sky" as the storm made its way to earth because the conditions were ideal to see the aurora borealis. Ariel Christiansen Smith said she captured video and photos of the beautiful display just after midnight in Kirkjubaejarklaustur during her travels across Iceland.

With The Associated Press and Storyful.

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