Last week, aurora borealis, commonly known as the northern lights, appeared on the skies of Colorado and Kansas in the US and Donegal in Ireland.

The pale green and pinkish glow that the sky-watchers witnessed for a fraction of seconds was much striking and absolutely breathtaking.

According to the Northern Lights Centre, the auroral activity is cyclic and peaks in almost every 11 years. It is expected to peak next in 2013.

Methodically, these bright dancing lights are caused by the collision of charged particles from the sun with the atoms in earth's atmosphere.

Take a look at some spectacular astral auroras seen over the years.

Check out the recent video showing green aurora borealis, filmed using a GoPro HD Hero 2 camera.