A series of solar flares and coronal mass ejections from the sun are creating dazzling auroras across the globe.

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The rare solar storm may also disrupt communications. The last time a solar storm of this magnitude reached Earth was in October 2003, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center.

Increased solar activity causes auroras that dance around Earth's poles, known as the northern lights, or aurora borealis, and southern lights, or aurora australis. When the energized particles from coronal mass ejections reach Earth's magnetic field, they interact with gases in the atmosphere to create different colored light in the sky.

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Even if auroras don't appear visible, photos of the night sky may capture colors you can't see with the naked eye.

The northern lights illuminate the sky in Debrad, Slovakia, on May 11.

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Aurora lights glow in the night sky over the mountains in Le Col des Mosses pass, Ormont-Dessous, Switzerland, during the early hours of May 11.

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The aurora borealis glows over Vienna on May 11.

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The aurora borealis illuminates the skies over the southwestern Siberian town of Tara, in Russia's Omsk region, on May 11.

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The northern lights are seen in a rural area west of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Friday, May 10.

Courtesy Luke Culver

People photograph the northern lights from Whitley Bay, England, on May 10.

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The northern lights flare in the sky over a farmhouse in Brunswick, Maine, on May 10.

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People stop along a country road near London, Ontario, to view the aurora borealis on May 10. Auroras are often observed in Canada's northern regions, but rarely in southern Ontario.

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The aurora lights are seen over western Tennessee out the window of a flight from Washington, DC, to Memphis, Tennessee, on May 10.


The northern lights are seen in the sky over Rich Hill, Missouri, on May 10.

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Courtesy Jan Reed

The northern lights glow in the night sky in Brandenburg, Germany, on May 10.

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In this long exposure photo, cars pass by as people look at the night sky towards the northern lights in Estacada, Oregon, on May 10.

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The northern lights seen over Cumming, Georgia, on May 10.


People pose for a photograph with the aurora borealis in Crosby, England, on May 10.

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The aurora glows over Edinburgh, Scotland, on May 10.

Courtesy Jacob Anderson

The aurora borealis is seen at Crosby Beach in Liverpool, England, on May 10.

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