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Northern lights expected across Canada this weekend: NOAA

Canadians from coast to coast and as far south as Toronto have a shot at seeing the northern lights this weekend, thanks to a series of solar ejections and storms over the past few days.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center, numerous coronal mass ejections (CMEs) were expected to impact Earth’s magnetic field on Thursday and Friday, culminating in a display of aurora borealis over Friday and Saturday nights. CMEs are large expulsions of solar matter from the sun's atmosphere, the corona, into space. When CMEs collide with Earth’s magnetic field, the result can sometimes be colourful auroras.

While the northern lights are typically only visible in Arctic regions, the cumulative effects of this week’s CMEs as well as a fast-moving stream of solar wind known as a coronal hole high-speed stream will make the phenomenon visible for people further south, as long as night skies are clear.

"We expect these disturbances to last through Friday and into Saturday, primarily at the minor to moderate level,” the NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center wrote in a space weather update on Aug. 18. “This should keep the aurora active but at a higher latitude than yesterday."

In the meantime, here is a taste of what people around the world have already seen thanks to this week’s solar storms. Top Stories

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