The major solar storms and resulting auroras of mid-July are but a taste of things to come as the sun reaches its maximum level of outbursts in its cycle.
Much has been made of the sun’s activity cycle over the past several months, with activity expected to peak in 2013 and ’14.
It has all made for some especially stunning aurora borealis displays, such as this one from Quebec in March. They reached farther south than usual, too. See ICTMN's other coverage of solar maximum and the aurora borealis.
Below is video of the solar flare that started the latest spate—a whopping eruption in mid-July. This provided a great preview of what’s to come, NASA says in the video below it. It gives a great recap of July’s events and tells us what they portend for future sky shows.
If you’re ready for more after watching below, see this cornucopia of fabulous aurora borealis videos from the International Space Station, compiled by Wired.com.
Raw Video: Large Solar Flare Erupts
ScienceCasts: A Taste of Solar Maximum