Photo Gallery: Northern Lights at sea level. Last night.

As a hazy October evening gets going, be thankful you’re in the central United States rather than in Russia, where scientists call the Northern Lights spectacular

Known as the Aurora Borealis, the display happens when charged particles from the sun hit the Earth’s magnetic field.

They can be seen from across Canada, the Arctic, and Greenland. They’re also sometimes visible in Siberia, Alaska, and elsewhere.

But we’re looking north, as you may have noticed over the years. Last night, a NASA craft snagged some pretty images of the aurora from farther south in Alaska, even sending back a gorgeous close-up of the snow-covered ground underneath the lights.

Go here for the full series from last night.

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