MAINE, USA — People in parts of the state were treated to a light show Thursday night as the Northern Lights lit up the sky.
NEWS CENTER Maine viewers shared photos from Waterboro, Kennebunk, and Portage Lake.
Meteorologist Todd Gutner said a recent solar flare increased the chances to see aurora borealis.
Sister stations in Colorado and Minnesota also reported dazzling skies overnight.
Northern Lights visible in Maine | March 2023
What are the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis)?
NASA explains what causes the Northern Lights:
"The Sun sends us more than heat and light; it sends lots of other energy and small particles our way. The protective magnetic field around Earth shields us from most of the energy and particles, and we don't even notice them.
But the Sun doesn't send the same amount of energy all the time. There is a constant streaming solar wind and there are also solar storms. During one kind of solar storm called a coronal mass ejection, the Sun burps out a huge bubble of electrified gas that can travel through space at high speeds.
When a solar storm comes toward us, some of the energy and small particles can travel down the magnetic field lines at the north and south poles into Earth's atmosphere.
There, the particles interact with gases in our atmosphere resulting in beautiful displays of light in the sky. Oxygen gives off green and red light. Nitrogen glows blue and purple."
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