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Aurora awe

Aside from being a great show, the Northern Lights that lit up the world last weekend showed just how a simple change in geography can bring a totally different look to the aurora borealis. There were many of us out there, and we present an example here of just how varied the light was in different corners of just Carlton County. Late last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Center issued its first G4 level geomagnetic storm watch since 2005. Word spread quickly about the possibility of perhaps once-in-a-lifetime Northern Lights. In a sense, they were. They were visible from many states in the continental U.S. and across the world. The shows put on Friday and Saturday night came courtesy of the sun's active phase of its 11-year solar cycle. A sunspot sent several coronal mass ejections flying toward Earth, resulting in the light at night May 10-11. Days later, on Tuesday, the sun belched out one of the biggest solar flares ever recorded. But it was on the side facing away from the earth, so no special shows. Friday began with thunderstorms and lightning late in the afternoon, then some clearing for rainbows and eventually the Northern Lights. By Sunday, wildfire smoke from Canada rolled in and created yet another bizarro sky and sunset.