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Must-See Photos: Aurora Borealis Treats Turtle Island to Breathtaking Show [14 Images]

Breathtaking photos of aurora borealis hitting the Lower 48 of the U.S. on March 17, 2015, after strong geomagnetic solar storm.
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It’s rare for the aurora borealis, or northern lights, to grace Indian country below the 49th Parallel. But that is exactly what happened on March 17 and 18, after two blasts burst from the sun, causing a spectacular show on Turtle Island.

Scientists surmised that the two coronal mass ejections (CMEs) left the sun at about the same time and, contrary to expectations, hit us head-on rather than with a glancing blow as they had predicted. They reached our planet’s magnetosphere a good 15 hours earlier, and with much more strength, than had been expected, Thomas Berger, director of the Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado, told the Associated Press. The result: a spectacular, breathtaking show.

It was not the first time the lights have danced so far south. It also happened in 2011, to similar spectacular effect, though they ventured even farther south that time.

RELATED: Aurora Borealis Appears as Far South as New Mexico

Though such an occurrence is rare, a similar phenomenon happened on Saint Patrick’s Day last year as well, with the aurora in that case displaying a vibrant green. Perhaps the sun has a touch ’o the Irish in him?

RELATED: Aurora Borealis Bathes Turtle Island in Saint Patrick's Day Green

ICTMN collected photos of this week’s aurora over Turtle Island. Below are the best photos of the 2015 aurora borealis, which reached as far south as New York State.

Photo: International Space Station

The aurora borealis from space on March 17, 2015

Photo: Facebook/Mike Taylor/Taylorphotography.com

A 5 image panorama of the Northern Lights display around 10PM in central Maine.

Photo: Kevin, Bloomingdale, NJ/News12NJ/Twitter

Very rare sighting of the Northern Lights in New Jersey.

Photo: lakesuperiorphoto.com/Twitter/Pure Michigan

Lake Superior Michigan, March 18

The splendor of the aurora borealis was accentuated by its unexpected, miraculous-seeming appearance over, of all places, New England. The iconic lights, more a symbol of Arctic and Antarctic skies, were a welcome precursor to spring.

Photo: Twitter/JSHurricaineNews/Jennifer Khordi

Catskills, NY, March 18

Photo: Linda Merry via SpaceWeather.com

Aurora over Williamstown, Massachusetts March 17, 2015

Photo: Jason Shireman via SpaceWeather.com

Aurora over Pittsfield, Illinois March 17, 2015

Photo: Ken Cravillion via SpaceWeather.com

Aurora over Osh Kosh, Wisconsin, March 17, 2015

Photo: Chris Cook via SpaceWeather.com

Aurora over Cape Cod, Massachusetts, March 17, 2015

Some of the sightings were more in line with normalcy, such as those in Alaska, while seeing the supposedly northern lights in places as southerly as New England and New Jersey struck a chord of awe, especially during a week with a super moon, a total solar eclipse and the advent of spring.

RELATED: Triple Header: Solar Eclipse and (Invisible) Super Moon Welcome Spring Equinox

Photo: Facebook/Sebastian Saarloos

Donnelly Creek, Alaska March 17, 2015

Photo: Facebook/Sebastian Saarloos

Donnelly Creek, Alaska March 17, 2015

Photo: Twitter/@SugarloafMaine

Sugarloaf Mountain, Maine, March 18th

Photo: Twitter/@SugarloafMaine

Sugarloaf Mountain, Maine, March 18th

Photo: Twitter/@SugarloafMaine

Sugarloaf Mountain, Maine, March 18