How do you know that you just experienced a more-impressive-than-average display of the Northern Lights? When somebody can take a picture like the one above in freaking Arkansas. Arkansas, people.
Photographed by Brian Emfinger in Ozark, Arkansas, these auroras were triggered by a big coronal mass ejection—a burst of energy from the Sun that can interact with our atmosphere to produce particularly spectacular examples of the aurora borealis. I missed the light show last night, but Spaceweather.com has a collection of photos taken around the world, from Michigan to Norway.
Maggie Koerth-Baker is the science editor at BoingBoing.net. She writes a monthly column for The New York Times Magazine and is the author of Before the Lights Go Out, a book about electricity, infrastructure, and the future of energy. You can find Maggie on Twitter and Facebook.