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The aurora borealis appearing over, of all places, the Catskill Mountains in New York State on March 18, 2015. It is almost unheard-of for the northern lights to be seen in the Lower 48.

Must-See Photos: Aurora Borealis Treats Turtle Island to Breathtaking Show [14 Images]

ICTMN Staff
3/20/15

It’s rare for the aurora borealis, or northern lights, to grace Indian country below the 49th Parallel. But that is exactly what happened on March 17 and 18, after two blasts burst from the sun, causing a spectacular show on Turtle Island.

Scientists surmised that the two coronal mass ejections (CMEs) left the sun at about the same time and, contrary to expectations, hit us head-on rather than with a glancing blow as they had predicted. They reached our planet’s magnetosphere a good 15 hours earlier, and with much more strength, than had been expected, Thomas Berger, director of the Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado, told the Associated Press. The result: a spectacular, breathtaking show.

It was not the first time the lights have danced so far south. It also happened in 2011, to similar spectacular effect, though they ventured even farther south that time.

RELATED: Aurora Borealis Appears as Far South as New Mexico

Though such an occurrence is rare, a similar phenomenon happened on Saint Patrick’s Day last year as well, with the aurora in that case displaying a vibrant green. Perhaps the sun has a touch ’o the Irish in him?

RELATED: Aurora Borealis Bathes Turtle Island in Saint Patrick's Day Green

ICTMN collected photos of this week’s aurora over Turtle Island. Below are the best photos of the 2015 aurora borealis, which reached as far south as New York State.

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