The Northern Lights make a rare return to Region 8

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Stargazers were treated to a light show earlier this past week.

A faint, yet breathtaking red glow danced on the northern horizon Monday evening.

The aurora borealis, more commonly known as the northern lights, only reach this far south once every decade.

The red curtain-like hues shown in this dramatic time lapse video are caused when electrons from incoming solar wind hit particles of oxygen over 150 miles high in the magnetosphere.

These solar storms release energy that travels through space at 500 miles per second, or one million miles an hour.

This solar wind can wreak havoc on orbiting communication satellites as it reaches our atmosphere, but there is little health concern for people.

If you missed these northern lights, don't worry, because there could be more in the near future.

The solar cycle is expected to reach the maximum by the beginning of 2012.

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