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Solar Storm Ignites Bright Aurora September 30, 2011
Northern Lights over Norway.
Northern Lights over Tromsø, Norway, when the geomagnetic storm peaked on the night of Sept. 27-28.
A stream of charged particles from a massive solar storm gave Earth only a glancing blow, but it was still strong enough to provide skywatchers from New Zealand to Norway with “unforgettable” displays of the aurora.

The coronal mass ejection arrived at about 5 million mph, triggering a geomagnetic storm high in Earth’s atmosphere.

“These were some of the most amazing auroras I have ever seen,” said photographer Fredrik Broms of Kvaløya, Norway.

He told Spaceweather. com: “The colors were absolutely stunning with purple and deep blood-red in addition to the green. It was a night I will never forget!”

Observers said the Northern Lights were so vivid across Scandinavia that they could even be seen through rain clouds.

The sunspot that created the stream of charged particles was large enough to be seen from Earth with the naked eye in the setting sun.

There were no reports of electronic or communications difficulties due to the geomagnetic storm.

Photo: Ole C. Salomonsen