Northern Lights seen from Patricia Beach on Lake Winnipeg Tuesday night. ((Shannon Bileski/CBC))

A spectacular showing of aurora borealis was visible across southern Manitoba Tuesday night, as a pair of solar storms lit up the sky here and across many parts of North America.

The light show was created after four coronal mass ejections — bubbles of plasma — were launched by the sun over the weekend, including as many as two headed toward the Earth.

The solar wind launched by the sun contains clouds of plasma, full of particles that include electrons and positive ions. When they reach the Earth, they interact with the Earth's magnetic field, exciting oxygen and nitrogen in the Earth's upper atmosphere.

The aurora is usually best seen in the Arctic and Antarctic because that is the location of the poles of the Earth's magnetic field.

But the U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colo., said there was a slight chance of another major solar storm Wednesday or Thursday.

According to Space Weather Canada, the Natural Resources Canada service that monitors solar storms, there have been four events similar to Tuesday's in the past year.

Lorne McKee, space weather forecaster for Natural Resources Canada, said the sun is now moving from a quiet period in its 11-year solar cycle to a more active phase, when more solar storms can be expected.