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Northern Lights to dance across city skies tonight

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WINNIPEG — Turn off and tune out the late-night TV, Manitobans. The real show is happening right outside your window.

"Tonight and Thursday Manitobans could be able to see the Northern Lights," said Scott Young, astronomer at the Manitoba Planetarium.

"This is just the start of a multi-year season," said Young. "The best way to view the lights is after dark and outside of the city."

Young said the Northern Lights are usually associated with the colour green, but that red, pink and sometimes even blue can be visible as well.

The emergence of the Northern Lights farther south is the result of solar eruptions heading for the Earth that have scattered the lights farther than usual.

The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics said the sun sent four stronger-than-normal eruptions toward our planet early Sunday morning.

Those events happen fairly often on the sun, but it’s rarer for them to be directed at the Earth, said astrophysicist Leon Golub.

Young said the Northern Lights can be "more unpredictable than the weather," and that there was no definitive guarantee they will show up.

Large solar flares in the past have disrupted power grids and radio frequencies, but this one is not expected to, nor is it expected to pose any danger to life on Earth, said McMaster University astronomy professor Doug Welch.

So pour that glass of wine, (or seltzer), lean back and enjoy the show.

— with files from the Canadian Press

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