A powerful solar storm that hit Earth on October 11th brought spectacular views of the Northern Lights to a wide swath of the United States and Canada. The aurora borealis could be seen as far south as New York state. Above is a video of the lights as seen from Minnesota, below an amazing image from South Dakota photographer Randy Halverson. For more striking photos, Spaceweather.com hosts an aurora gallery featuring current views from such locales as Kansas, Idaho, Alaska, Washington, Montana, and Nebraska.
We have entered a period known as the solar maximum, where solar flares can be stronger or more frequent. NOAA recently put out a geomagnetic storm watch after a CME (coronal mass ejection) was spotted, and these events can cause problems for the power grid and satellites. More info here.