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Northern lights stun sky watchers in southwestern Ontario

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A spectacular and colourful show lit up the night sky across southwestern Ontario on Friday night.

The northern lights, also known as aurora borealis, were visible across Canada, the U.S. and Europe thanks to a powerful solar storm.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NCAA), they’re caused by a large-scale magnetic eruption that results in a coronal mass ejection and solar flare. Charged particles are accelerated and can reached Earth, 150 million kilometres away, in just 10 minutes or less. Those fast-moving protons then enter the magnetosphere and create a dazzling light show.

The northern lights, however, aren’t typically seen this far south.

PHOTO GALLERY: Aurora borealis as seen from southwestern Ontario

Experts say Friday night’s geomagnetic storm was the strongest they’ve seen since 2005.

People across Canada, the U.S. and Europe have been sharing their photos of the aurora borealis, though in southern Ontario missed out due to the cloudy skies.

MORE PHOTOS: Northern lights seen around the world

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