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Northern lights captured across the GTA

The Northern Lights seen from Richmond Hill. .
The Northern Lights seen from Richmond Hill. . Nicole Mortillaro

TORONTO – The northern lights lit up the sky across Canada on Tuesday night and were even caught on camera across the GTA and north of the city.

The northern lights, or aurora borealis, occur when particles from the sun interact with Earth’s magnetic field.

The northern lights, seen from Richmond Hill. Though difficult to see with the naked eye, the camera captured the colours as they crossed the sky. The streaks are lights from a passing plane.
The northern lights, seen from Richmond Hill. Though difficult to see with the naked eye, the camera captured the colours as they crossed the sky. The streaks are lights from a passing plane. Nicole Mortillaro
The northern lights, or aurora borealis, seen from Richmond Hill.
The northern lights, or aurora borealis, seen from Richmond Hill. Nicole Mortillaro
The Northern Lights seen from Richmond Hill.
The Northern Lights seen from Richmond Hill. Nicole Mortillaro
The aurora borealis, photographed about 2 hours north of Toronto.
The aurora borealis, photographed about 2 hours north of Toronto. Bill Longo
Bill Longo photographed the aurora borealis on Tuesday night, north of Toronto.
Bill Longo photographed the aurora borealis on Tuesday night, north of Toronto. Bill Longo

A coronal mass ejection (CME) was likely responsible for triggering the light show which displayed brilliant colours of red and green. CMEs are ejections of plasma and particles from the sun which travel extremely fast.

There is a chance of more northern lights tonight. Catching them from the city can be difficult due to light pollution. However, your best chance to view them is to head north of the city or by taking a long-exposure photograph (8 seconds at an ISO of about 800) facing north.

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Dave Patrick (www.ontarioweather.com) timelapse of the northern lights over Ontario