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PHOTOS: Rare Northern Lights Shine for Midwest, Northeast

For the second time in two weeks, a brief northern lights display flashed across the sky down into the Upper Midwest and into the Northeastern states on Tuesday night.

The northern lights, also called the aurora borealis, are created when radiation from a solar flare reaches the Earth's atmosphere and reacts with its charged protons. The direction of the solar flare will determine the intensity of the lights and how far south they will go. Had a direct solar flare occurred, the lights would have extended farther south.

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A view of the aurora framing Mt. Kearsarge in New Hampshire. Photo by Ann Dinsmore.

The aurora reflects back from a pond in Maine. EXIF data: Nikon D600 & 14-24mm at 14, f/2.8, 30 secs, ISO 1250, 10/08/13, 8:41 PM. Photo by Mike Taylor.

A streak of green lights darts across the sky in St-Elzear de Beauce, Quebec. Photo by Gabriel Cyr.