A geomagnetic storm is underway and if you are lucky might get to witness auroras lighting up the sky across the United States, Canada and Europe!

Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) in Colorado, United States has issued a moderate geomagnetic storm warning for October 13, 2016, and strong storm warning for October 14, 2016. According to a release issued by the SWPC, auroras, popularly known as the northern lights, might be visible as low as New York, Wisconsin and Washington state as well.

As far as Europe is concerned, the lighting display will be visible in Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Switzerland and Russia, Space Weather Live wrote.

So what is an aurora?
Aurora is the stunning display of light across the sky. Auroras that occur in the northern hemisphere are called ‘Aurora Borealis’ or northern lights, while on the other hand auroras that occur in the southern hemisphere are called ‘Aurora Australis’ or ‘southern lights’.

Auroras can be witnessed in many colours including red, yellow, blue and violet. However, green remains the most common colour.

What causes auroras?
Auroras are caused by the collision between charged particles released from the sun that enter the Earth’s atmosphere with the gas particles. The variation in colour happens due to the type of gas particle that is colliding with the charged particle from the sun. While the collision with oxygen particles produces green aurora, collision with nitrogen particles produces blue aurora.

As of October 14, 2016, 7pm (IST), reports of auroras being spotted in Alberta, Scotland, Dublin, Sweden, Ireland, Canada, Stockholm and Minnesota surfaced on the social media. Twitterati tweeted some of the most stunning images of the northern lights.

Take a look: