This photo was taken on January 22, 2012 in Fairbanks North Star Borough County, Alaska, US, using a Nikon D5000. The 'explodey' look is due to perspective from looking right up the magnetic field lines. The aurora in the middle of the explosion is pointing straight down at the camera. Credit: Jason Ahrns -- and 'regular' view of Jason's image of the aurora is below.
On January 22nd 2012, skywatchers in the northern hemisphere were rewarded with amazing displays of aurora. The cause of these displays was a Kp level 5.67 geomagnetic storm originating from solar activity on the 19th of January, produced visible aurorae throughout the northern hemisphere and viewers as far south as northeast England had great auroral views.
Here is a selection of aurora images and videos taken during the event.
They are just beautiful