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Fox News Weather Center

PHOTOS: Northern lights ignite across Canada, northwestern US after solar storm

Northern lights glowed across the Northern Hemisphere on Wednesday night, and skywatchers were able to take in stunning views.

A solar flare erupted from the sun on Dec. 28 and sparked a coronal mass ejection (CME), creating the setup for northern lights to ignite.

The aurora borealis is caused when charged particles from the sun hit the Earth's atmosphere, igniting a geomagnetic storm and producing a rainbow of colors.

Auroras can take different shapes, often draping like a curtain, but at times the lights can form a swirling pattern.