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Northern lights shine over Michigan's Mackinac Bridge


Bright green colors reflected off the Straits of Mackinac – the waterway that flows under Michigan's Mackinac Bridge, connecting Lake Michigan and Lake Huron – as the Northern lights paid a welcome visit to the area over the weekend.

Dustin Dilworth, of Gaylord, Michigan, located about an hour south of the Mackinac Bridge, was one of many who traveled to Mackinaw City to witness the stunning phenomenon Sunday night.

He shared a 43-second timelapse of the event on his photography Facebook page Monday morning. The post went viral with more than 5,700 shares and 133,000 video views as of Tuesday afternoon.

"How beautiful! I’ve always wanted to see the Northern Lights!" one Facebook fan exclaimed.

"Beautiful! Saw these in the late 1950’s while sleeping on our boat in Lake St. Clair," another commented.

"Where I first saw them 38 years ago. Spectacular!" one woman added.

Northern lights, also known as aurora borealis, are created when space particles hit Earth's atmopshere.

"These electrons originate in the magnetosphere, the region of space controlled by Earth’s magnetic field. As they rain into the atmosphere, the electrons impart energy to oxygen and nitrogen molecules, making them excited. When the molecules return to their normal state, they release photons, small bursts of energy in the form of light," NASA states on its website.

Many people travel to Michigan in hopes of spotting the spectacular display. There are several spots to catch the show, thanks to the state's low light pollution, state tourism website Pure Michigan says.

"Northern Michigan sits in a great location latitude-wise, as the auroral oval dips further south on nights of stronger auroral activity," Pure Michigan explains in a blog post. "The Upper Peninsula is blessed with hundreds of miles of shoreline along the south shore of Lake Superior, which provides some of the best northern lights viewing in the lower 48 due to the very dark night skies."

The site lists Headlands International Dark Sky Park, Eagle River, Eagle Harbor, Copper Harbor, among other locations around the state, as optimal viewing areas.

Locals hinted at other great viewing spots by tagging their locations in social media posts.