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solar flare

 Jesper Grønne

Denmark's Jesper Grønne took this stunning picture of the northern lights on Tuesday night. Watch an MSNBC video about the auroral show as well as Grønne's QuickTime aurora video.

Alan Boyle writes: The first wave of stormy weather from the sun hit Earth on Tuesday, sparking bright northern lights - and an even brighter light show is expected on Thursday when the second wave is due to hit.

Both waves were set off on Sunday, when a solar flare and a whooshing magnetic filament erupted on the sun, as seen in a series of images from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration'sSpace Weather Prediction Center, based in Colorado, say those two events sent two distinct waves of electrically charged particles toward Earth. And some space weather watchers suggest there were as many as four separate blasts of particles sent our way.

solar flare