Northern Lights peek out behind the clouds in Lyman

Photo: Wade B. Clark, Jr.

All the talk of the heavens this week was the Lyrid Meteor Shower, but there was another trick up Earth's sleeve -- a surprise appearance of the Northern Lights.

A solar storm erupted in the atmosphere -- strong enough that the Northern Lights made a semi-rare trek down to our latitudes.

Wade B. Clark Jr. took some of these photographs Monday evening around 10 p.m. from his pasture near Lyman in Skagit County.

"Not a big bright display, but it was nice to see the aurora again," he wrote. "The clouds moved in shortly thereafter and couldn't see much else. Hope it's an omen for later "this year!"

Sun spot activity is expected to increase as we get closer to the expect solar maximum in early 2013. The sun runs on a roughly 11-year cycle of sunspot intensity.

Steve Scholle of Bremerton also got to see the lights from Point no Point Beach just before 11 p.m.

"It was quite a sight for a few minutes until the clouds thickened up and shut the show down," he said. "My son Tyler and I were thrilled to get to see them with our own eyes!"

Speaking of Northern Lights, weather blog favorite Ole Salomonsen of Arctic Light photo in Tromso, Norway has just finished a video that shows a compilation of his work over the just-completed winter.

You can also check out his Flickr page for more photos of his incredible work.