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Pretty in pink: Geomagnetic storm paints night sky over the Tiburon Peninsula

Strawberry resident Marc Hoag captured this iPhone image of the aurora borealis looking north over Tiburon early May 11. A series of powerful solar storms made the northern lights unusually visible at lower latitudes, as the sun’s 11-year cycle is near its solar maximum, causing entanglements of the sun’s magnetic fields. That led to coronal mass ejections last week, blasting charged particles carried on the solar wind toward Earth. Those particles then interacted with the earth’s magnetic field, ionizing molecular nitrogen and exciting atomic oxygen in atmosphere to create the colorful auroras.


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