Photos & Video: Northern Lights Illuminate The Skies In UK

northern-lights

Rare sightings of the Northern Lights are captivating observers across the UK, eliciting excitement from skywatchers nationwide. Pictures of the mesmerizing lights, also known as aurora borealis, flooded social media, showcasing their beauty from various regions such as Liverpool, Kent, Norfolk, Sussex, and parts of Scotland.

The display became visible following one of the most potent geomagnetic storms in recent years, prompting a rare solar storm warning from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). These storms heighten the chances of witnessing the spectacle, although they also pose potential risks to infrastructure like satellites and the power grid, as cautioned by NOAA.

Clear skies, as experienced on Friday evening, significantly enhance the likelihood of spotting the Northern Lights from most parts of the UK. However, residents of Northern Ireland, Scotland, and northern England typically have a higher probability of witnessing the phenomenon.

BBC Weather presenter Elizabeth Rizzini said: “It’s fantastic conditions, the skies are pretty clear at the moment.

“There could be some low cloud that comes into East Anglia and the south west of England and Lincolnshire coast, but generally skies are pretty clear at the moment.”

She added: “Tonight’s the night but it will probably be visible tomorrow as well.”

Met Office spokesman Stephen Dixon said “conditions could continue on Saturday night, but we still have to work out some details on where exactly that will be”.

Across the Atlantic, the NOAA suggested that the lights might be visible as far south as Alabama and northern California in the United States.

The Northern Lights, or aurora borealis, manifest as vivid, swirling curtains of light in the night sky, exhibiting hues ranging from green to pink and scarlet. This breathtaking phenomenon is a result of charged particles from the sun colliding with gases in the Earth’s atmosphere.

The distinct colors arise from the interaction of these charged particles with different gases, primarily nitrogen and oxygen, within the Earth’s atmosphere. Oxygen atoms emit a green glow, commonly observed in the Northern Lights, while nitrogen atoms produce shades of purple, blue, and pink.

The most spectacular auroras occur when the sun releases substantial clouds of particles known as coronal mass ejections, amplifying the intensity and brilliance of the celestial display.