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Russian Skies Light Up: Instagram Shines With Aurora Borealis (PHOTOS)

© NASAAurora Australis Over New Zealand, Tasman Sea (NASA, International Space Station, 09/17/11)
Aurora Australis Over New Zealand, Tasman Sea (NASA, International Space Station, 09/17/11) - Sputnik International
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Residents and visitors to Russia’s northern capital were treated to a beautiful sight on Thursday as weather conditions allowed for a stunning show of the Northern Lights above St. Petersburg.

Generally, the Aurora Borealis (or Northern Lights) is visible close to or above the Arctic Circle, but with the right conditions the atmospheric phenomenon can be spotted in regions further south. In southern latitudes, the same phenomenon is referred to as Aurora Australis.

The spectacular shows are caused by the interaction of charged particles ejected from the sun striking the Earth’s magnetosphere. The particles, including electrons and protons, enter and exit the gases of Earth’s atmosphere causing ionization.

A photo posted by Sanеk (@sanek_popov87) on Feb 17, 2016 at 10:56pm PST

When the aurora glows in green or orange-red, you are seeing oxygen emissions. When they are blue or red, you are seeing nitrogen emissions.

Many of those lucky enough to catch the show in St. Petersburg were quick to upload photos to Instagram.

“I love our sky and all that it shows us. All these phenomena such as the aurora borealis, the solar eclipse — but even sunsets and sunrises are extraordinarily beautiful, sometimes even breathtaking,” Olga Arseneva, a user who posted several glorious images to Instagram, wrote in Russian.

A photo posted by Tigran Matevosyan (@zibill) on Feb 16, 2016 at 6:40pm PST

A photo posted by Aleksey Kravz (@aleksey_kravzov) on Feb 17, 2016 at 1:19am PST

A photo posted by Valerie Lav (@_val_lav_) on Feb 17, 2016 at 5:50am PST

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