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Northern lights dance with a comet

This closeup from Chad Blakley's video uses a black circle to highlight the comet's location. For more, check out Blakley's Lights Over Lapland page on Facebook.
This closeup from Chad Blakley's video uses a black circle to highlight the comet's location. For more, check out Blakley's Lights Over Lapland page on Facebook.Chad Blakley / Lights Over Lapland

Talk about dancing with the stars: The glow of the northern lights danced through the night sky this week, thanks to a solar storm that swept past Earth over the past few days. Comet PanSTARRS, which is appearing a little bit farther north in western skies every evening, adds some extra sparkle.

The time around the equinox is considered the peak of the aurora season, because this time of year strikes a balance between the dark skies of winter and the more clement temperatures of summer. And although PanSTARRS may not have panned out the way some of the more optimistic skywatchers might have expected, it's still observable in the Northern Hemisphere — particularly if you're watching with binoculars from a vantage point far from city lights, with a clear view to the western horizon.

Sky & Telescope's PanSTARRS page helps you track the comet day by day, and you can always rely on SpaceWeather.com to have the latest, greatest pictures of PanSTARRS as well as the auroral glow.

For example, French photographer Sylvain Dussans managed to capture both phenomena in one glorious picture, taken from Norway's Senja Island.

Here are a couple more videos of the solar storm and the comet, as seen from Earth and space:

This closeup from Chad Blakley's video uses a black circle to highlight the comet's location. For more, check out Blakley's Lights Over Lapland page on Facebook.Chad Blakley / Lights Over Lapland

More about the comet and the aurora:

Alan Boyle is NBCNews.com's science editor. Connect with the Cosmic Log community by "liking" the log's Facebook page, following @b0yle on Twitter and adding the Cosmic Log page to your Google+ presence. To keep up with Cosmic Log and the rest of NBCNews.com's science and space coverage, sign up for the Tech & Science newsletter, delivered to your email in-box. You can also check out "The Case for Pluto," my book about the controversial dwarf planet and the search for new worlds.