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Solar ejection on Friday sets off northern lights on Monday

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If it rains while the sun shines, you get a rainbow. When the sun shoots a filament toward Earth, you get an aurora. Amazing NASA cause and effect photos over last weekend, from Sun to Yukon.

Seared Today, Yukon Tomorrow: A coronal mass ejection left the sun's atmosphere last Friday so that it could entertain Yukon inhabitants with a light show on Monday.

When it rains while the sun shines, you get a rainbow.

And when the sun fires a coronal mass ejection in Earth's general direction, you get an aurora borealis of course. Or at least that's what transpired over the Yukon this week, according to some stunning visuals captured by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

Last Friday, Aug. 31, the sun shot a filament of material from its corona (atmosphere) at 900 miles per second. By Monday, Sept. 3, the wispy missile, technically known as a coronal mass ejection (CME), delivered a "glancing blow" to the planet's magnetic environment, NASA reports on its website. That in turn raised the curtain on a great green light show in Canada's night skies.

You can watch the video of the sun erupting on the NASA link above. I'm working on embedding it in this post; no guarantees.

Here are some other photos, all courtesy of NASA. The first is the filament in its familiar orange hue (check out the pipsqueak Earth), followed by the same filament in different wavelengths of color, and then by the aurora over Whitehorse, Yukon:

All photos courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Aurora via David Cartier Sr.

More auroras and sun spotting on SmartPlanet:

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Mark Halper

Contributing Editor

Mark Halper has written for TIME, Fortune, Financial Times, the UK's Independent on Sunday, Forbes, New York Times, Wired, Variety and The Guardian. He is based in Bristol, U.K. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure