Northern lights paint brilliant display over B.C.

“It’s almost like a painting!”

That was one of many comments Global News received from viewers who sent in photos of Friday night’s spectacular northern lights.

Courtesy of a powerful geomagnetic storm, British Columbia skies were bathed overnight in dancing and constantly changing hues of blue, green and purple.

According to experts, the fantastic light show — the result of energized particles from the sun reaching Earth’s atmosphere — could last throughout the weekend.

The charged particles are the result of solar flares and coronal mass ejections. In this case, a large cluster on the sun is proving to be quite active.

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On Thursday, the U.S.-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a severe geomagnetic storm watch, saying it was the first it had sent out since January 2005.

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“The threat of additional strong flares and (coronal mass ejections) will remain until the large and magnetically complex sunspot closer rotates out of view over the next several days,” said the NOAA.

It added solar flares are powerful bursts of energy that can impact radio communications, power grids and navigation signals.

If you’re interested in learning more about the northern lights, also called the aurora borealis, visit this webpage.

The NOAA also has a tips page on viewing the northern lights.

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