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Photos: See the Northern lights from rare solar storm

Christchurch, New Zealand: People look at the Aurora Australis, also known as the Southern Lights, in Rolleston on May 11, 2024.
Sanka Vidanagama
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AFP/Getty Images
Christchurch, New Zealand: People look at the Aurora Australis, also known as the Southern Lights, in Rolleston on May 11, 2024.

The largest geomagnetic storm in nearly two decades is hitting Earth's atmosphere. It's producing a beautiful glow in the sky all over the world.

A sunspot has sent a stream of charged particles towards Earth.

As those particles hit the Earth's atmosphere they will be heated and start glowing producing beautiful aurora.

Lisa Upton is with the Southwest Research Institute. Social media is already filling with photos from places like Finland, Russia, Germany and New Zealand, which catches the same effect in the southern hemisphere. It's not clear how far down in the U.S. the aurora will spread, but Upton is keeping an eye out in Colorado.

Space weather forecasters expect the solar storm to peak overnight, but it will last throughout the weekend.

Copyright 2024 NPR

Brunswick, Maine: The northern lights flare in the sky over a farmhouse, late Friday, May 10, 2024.
Robert F. Bukaty / AP
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AP
Brunswick, Maine: The northern lights flare in the sky over a farmhouse, late Friday, May 10, 2024.
Estacada, Ore.: In this image taken with a long exposure, cars pass by as people look at the night sky towards the northern lights, or Aurora Borealis, on Friday, May 10, 2024, in Estacada, Ore.
Jenny Kane / AP
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AP
Estacada, Ore.: In this image taken with a long exposure, cars pass by as people look at the night sky towards the northern lights, or Aurora Borealis, on Friday, May 10, 2024, in Estacada, Ore.
Lake Berryessa, Calif.: The blinking lights of a plane streak through the aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights, which is visible on May 11, 2024.
Carlos Avila Gonzalez / San Francisco Chronicle/Getty Images
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San Francisco Chronicle/Getty Images
Lake Berryessa, Calif.: The blinking lights of a plane streak through the aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights, which is visible on May 11, 2024.
London, Ontario: People stop along a country road near London, Ontario to watch the Northern lights or aurora borealis during a geomagnetic storm on May 10, 2024.
Geoff Robins / AFP/Getty Images
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AFP/Getty Images
London, Ontario: People stop along a country road near London, Ontario to watch the Northern lights or aurora borealis during a geomagnetic storm on May 10, 2024.
Brandenburg, Germany: Light green and slightly reddish auroras glow in the night sky.
Patrick Pleul / dpa/picture alliance/Getty Images
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dpa/picture alliance/Getty Images
Brandenburg, Germany: Light green and slightly reddish auroras glow in the night sky.
Whitley Bay, England: People visit St Mary's lighthouse in Whitley Bay to see the aurora borealis, commonly known as the northern lights.
Ian Forsyth / Getty Images
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Getty Images
Whitley Bay, England: People visit St Mary's lighthouse in Whitley Bay to see the aurora borealis, commonly known as the northern lights.
Saxony-Anhalt, Schierke, Germany: Northern lights can be seen from the Brocken. The natural spectacle is particularly intense on Saturday night.
Matthias Bein / dpa/picture alliance/Getty Images
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dpa/picture alliance/Getty Images
Saxony-Anhalt, Schierke, Germany: Northern lights can be seen from the Brocken. The natural spectacle is particularly intense on Saturday night.
Rochester, N.Y: Northern Lights light up the sky on May 11, 2024.
Lokman Vural Elibol / Anadolu/Getty Images
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Anadolu/Getty Images
Rochester, N.Y: Northern Lights light up the sky on May 11, 2024.
Hesse, Germany: Northern lights appear in the night sky over the Pferdskopf near Treisberg in the Hochtaunus district of Hesse.
Lando Hass / dpa/picture alliance/Getty Images
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dpa/picture alliance/Getty Images
Hesse, Germany: Northern lights appear in the night sky over the Pferdskopf near Treisberg in the Hochtaunus district of Hesse.
Mount Mitchell, N.C.: Unusual sun activity created a G5 Geostorm on Earth sparks northern lights on May 10, 2024.
Peter Zay / Anadolu/Getty Images
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Anadolu/Getty Images
Mount Mitchell, N.C.: Unusual sun activity created a G5 Geostorm on Earth sparks northern lights on May 10, 2024.
London, Ontario: Northern lights or aurora borealis illuminate the night sky near London, Ontario, during a geomagnetic storm on May 10, 2024.
Geoff Robins / AFP/Getty Images
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AFP/Getty Images
London, Ontario: Northern lights or aurora borealis illuminate the night sky near London, Ontario, during a geomagnetic storm on May 10, 2024.
Debrad, Slovakia: Northern lights illuminate the sky May 11, 2024.
Robert Nemeti / Anadolu/Getty Images
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Anadolu/Getty Images
Debrad, Slovakia: Northern lights illuminate the sky May 11, 2024.
Eindhoven, Ukraine: Northern lights illuminate the sky in Eindhoven, Ukraine, May 10, 2024.
Nikos Oikonomou / Anadolu/Getty Images
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Anadolu/Getty Images
Eindhoven, Ukraine: Northern lights illuminate the sky in Eindhoven, Ukraine, May 10, 2024.
Liseleje, Denmark:  Northern lights illuminate the sky in Liseleje, Denmark on May 11, 2024.
Mohamed El-Shemy / Anadolu/Getty Images
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Anadolu/Getty Images
Liseleje, Denmark: Northern lights illuminate the sky in Liseleje, Denmark on May 11, 2024.
Markville, Minnesota: The northern lights glow in the sky over St. Croix State Forest late Friday, May 10, 2024.
Mark Vancleave / AP
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AP
Markville, Minnesota: The northern lights glow in the sky over St. Croix State Forest late Friday, May 10, 2024.
Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine: Northern lights light up the sky May 11, 2024.
Diego Herrera Carcedo / Anadolu/Getty Images
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Anadolu/Getty Images
Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine: Northern lights light up the sky May 11, 2024.
Skidmore, Missouri: Old tombstones stand against the northern lights at a cemetery early Saturday, May 11, 2024.
Charlie Riedel / AP
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AP
Skidmore, Missouri: Old tombstones stand against the northern lights at a cemetery early Saturday, May 11, 2024.
Middletown, California: Northern lights illuminate the night sky over a camper's tent north of San Francisco on May 11, 2024.
Josh Edelson / AFP/Getty Images
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AFP/Getty Images
Middletown, California: Northern lights illuminate the night sky over a camper's tent north of San Francisco on May 11, 2024.
Estacada, Oregon: In this image taken with a long exposure, people look at the night sky towards the northern lights, or Aurora Borealis, on Friday, May 10, 2024.
Jenny Kane / AP
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AP
Estacada, Oregon: In this image taken with a long exposure, people look at the night sky towards the northern lights, or Aurora Borealis, on Friday, May 10, 2024.

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NPR Staff
Geoff Brumfiel works as a senior editor and correspondent on NPR's science desk. His editing duties include science and space, while his reporting focuses on the intersection of science and national security.