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The northern lights provided a stunning display for stargazers in the United States and Europe

The northern lights provided a stunning display for stargazers in the United States and Europe

You can see the Northern Lights in Alaska.
CNN/Getty Images

  • Friday night, the lights of the Northern Lights provided a stunning display for American and European stargazers.
  • The lights, Aurora Borealis, are caused by a massive geomagnetic storm heading toward Earth.
  • High-energy particles from the Sun that interact with the Earth's magnetic field cause geomagnetic storms.

The skies over the United States and Europe turned shades of pink, purple, blue and green Friday night as the northern lights produced a dazzling display.

The aurora lights were turned on after the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued the first severe solar storm warning since 2005 as a massive geomagnetic storm headed toward Earth.

Noah He said The G5 geomagnetic storm, which is considered an intense and strongest level of geomagnetic storm, brought with it the risk of impacting communications, GPS, and power grids.

Geomagnetic storms occur when high-energy particles from the Sun reach Earth and interact with our magnetic field.

But the Sun is 93 million miles away, so these particles must get a big boost to reach us. This enhancement comes from solar storms.

Solar storms occur when the Sun fires powerful blasts of high-energy magnetic plasma called coronal mass ejections toward Earth.

The lights were seen in the United States as far south as El Paso, Texas, and throughout Europe in Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and Ukraine.

Here's a look at 10 of the best photos taken by stargazers.

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