DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) - You weren't seeing things Monday night. There was a beautiful red hue overhead. Those were the northern lights or aurora borealis. But what causes the lights and will we see them again?
Not only is it unusual to see the northern lights this far south but the red auroras we saw last night are rare. The picture perfect display was captured by many people around the US.
The greens and reds are dancing across the sky as if they were choreographed to a piece of music. The aurora borelais or northern lights are more commonly seen near the north pole, but on rare occassions can be seen farther south.
To find out how these brilliant colors light up the night we first have to look out of this world. A NASA movie of the sun shows expolosions on the surface. These explosions are called coronal mass ejections or C-M-E's.
The C-M-E contains billions of particles that travel to the Earth. Once these particles reach the Earth's magnetic field an electrical exchange occurs and colors begin to pop in the sky. A strong C-M-E can produce intense auroras and allow them to be seen farther south.
There's a chance the northern lights may make another apperance Tuesday night, however they may not reach this far south and clouds may block our view.
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