Solar storm triggers dazzling display of Northern Lights over Finland

A solar storm turned the skies a brilliant shade of green over Scandinavia Sunday night, just in time for St. Patricks' Day week.

"Whole night, it was a crazy show," wrote Jasim Sarker with Visit Lapland in Finland.

The solar flare hit Earth early Sunday morning and triggered a geomagnetic storm about four hours later, according to NOAA. The storm lasted into the night in Europe, allowing the incredible aurora display.

Storm conditions were fading Monday morning, but the sun is becoming increasingly active in its 11-year solar cycle.

The sun reached its solar minimum in 2019, but sunspot activity is ramping up ahead of the cycle's expected peak sometime in 2024 or 2025.

Sunspots are capable of triggering solar flares and as they become more common, more frequent geomagnetic storms will follow suit. And Finland remains one of the better places to spot them on the planet.  According to the Finnish tourism website Visit Finland, the aurora borealis is visible roughly 200 nights a year from the region.

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