Aurora Over Iowa.

From Astronomy Picture of the Day:

Last Thursday evening, stars were not the only lights in Iowa skies. Spectacular northern lights also shone from the heavens, extending across the midwestern USA and other locations not often graced with auroral displays. The wide-ranging auroral activity was triggered as a large solar flare - an energetic cloud of particles blasted outward from the Sun a few days earlier - collided with planet Earth's magnetosphere. Alerted to conditions ripe for aurora, photographer Stan Richard recorded this apparition over Saylorville Lake, near Des Moines, Iowa, USA. While the colorful rays seem to end just above the water, they are actually at altitudes of 100 kilometers or more.

Link | More cool aurora photos at Stan Richard's website: Night Sky Events

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I live 15 minutes away from Saylorville Lake where this picture was taken. I was home watching the news when they briefly mentioned the lights. My wife encouraged me to take a drive (and I would've gone to Saylorville), but my laziness got the best of me. Idiot. After seeing these pictures, I will never make that same mistake again. Stunning.
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I saw something on National Geographic about how the poles are (or might be) slowly switching... which means (as a result of the temporarily decreased magnetism) Aurora Borealis in a lot of places (in a couple thousand years)! So beautiful, though.
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Oooooooohhhhhh...I LOVE auroras! I've only seen one in my life, when I was about 12. The whole Texas sky was lit from horizon to horizon by a brilliant red glow, shot through with streaks of green. It left me breathless and weeping with awe...

*sigh* I hope I get to see another one someday soon...maybe this will be my chance, perhaps...

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