The Earth has been under a barrage of solar storms lately, thanks to an 11-year sunspot cycle that's expected to peak sometime in 2013. These outbursts hit a fever pitch last week, when two X-class solar flares — comprising the biggest solar storm in five years — erupted from the sun. They didn't trigger a mass failure of satellites and power grids as some experts feared, but they did make their presence known: The onslaught sparked vivid aurora displays across the planet's polar regions.


Solar storms produced plenty of impressive auroras in 2011, and they haven't let up in 2012. But last week's storm was especially potent, and German photographers Anna and Claus Possberg managed to capture its auroral glory during a trip to northern Norway. Their time-lapse film, "Aurora Borealis: Fire in the Sky," was posted online Tuesday and features some of the year's best aurora footage so far:



Also on MNN:


Russell McLendon ( @russmclendon ) writes about humans and other wildlife.

Watch: Solar storms spur huge auroras
Solar storms have created some stunning aurora borealis displays in recent weeks. This four-minute film from Norway is one of the best so far.