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Norway Northern Lights

The Northern Lights could be visible across the upper US Sunday night

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If you live in the upper United States, you may want to take a peek outside your window Sunday night.

Why? Well, thanks to a recent explosion on the sun, a light display known as the Aurora Borealis or the Northern Lights, may be visible "as low as New York to Wisconsin to Washington State," according to NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center.

The National Weather Service tweeted that the lights will be most visible after sunset on Sunday until about 2 a.m. on Monday. Experts say the lights will be most visible under dark, clear skies.

So what causes the aurora?

"The 'Northern Lights' are caused by collisions between fast-moving particles (electrons) from space and the oxygen and nitrogen gas in our atmosphere," according to NASA. NASA explains that when billions of collisions like this occur and enough photons are released, the oxygen and nitrogen emit enough light for the display to be visible.

And, fun fact, the color of the aurora all depends on, "which gas is being excited by the electrons and on how much energy is being exchanged." Oxygen emits a greenish-yellow or red light, whereas nitrogen gives off a blue light.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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