The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Instagrammers capture rare and enchanting views of the Northern Lights

Stargazers across the globe captured stunning auroral displays late Monday night and early Tuesday morning. The unusually strong showing of the Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, occurred when solar eruptions triggered a severe geomagnetic storm over the weekend. The Post’s Capital Weather Gang explains:

“Three coronal mass ejections over the past few days have erupted and have made their way to Earth to cause a G4 (severe) geomagnetic storm on Monday afternoon. … [T]he solar wind was very fast and contained a southward-oriented magnetic field. A fast solar wind with this characteristic tends to produce the largest geomagnetic storms — and most intense auroras — on Earth.”

[The beauty of a rare total solar eclipse]

Instagram and Twitter users from all over including New Hampshire, North Dakota, NorwayMinnesota, and New York stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to capture and share the dazzling display. Here’s a look:

More about the Northern Lights:

Solar eruptions trigger severe geomagnetic storm on Earth

Stunning timelapse shows the Aurora Borealis from space

Severe geomagnetic storm spurs beautiful aurora

Aurora lights up the sky as far south as Midwest