National & International

Spectacle as Northern Lights come South

single image

The Northern lights, also known as aurora borealis, were clearly seen in the night sky on May 10.

Locations as far South as Buckingham rarely get to view such a phenomenon.But this was not the case on Friday, due to a severe geomagnetic storm that pushed the lights further down the country.

By the following morning images people had taken on mobile devices were soon plastered across all social media platforms.

Post from MP Rob Butler on twitter with caption stunning views of the northern lights over Aylesbury last night and three images of purple and green northern lights in night sky

University of Buckingham instagram post with purple and green northern lights in sky over campus

The Northern Lights are caused by atoms with electric charges, called charged particles.  The lights appear when these charged particles are shot out from the sun and hit gases in the Earth’s atmosphere. This causes colours such as greens and purples to appear to ‘dance’ in clear night skies.

The last time an extreme geomagnetic storm hit Earth was 2003, according to reports, so Friday’s event was very rare and, for many, what may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

It was stunning, feel so lucky to have caught it – Sara Robb (Via Facebook)

But, it wasn’t only the UK that benefitted from this. Countries all along the Northern hemisphere got to experience the light show, with photos posted across Europe and the US. 

It was a multi-day event, so sights were expected again on Saturday and Sunday night, but these solar storms were not to as strong as Friday.

For those who unfortunately missed the weekend’s lights, the possibility of seeing them again in the UK, especially over light pollution, is quite unlikely.

Stunning Northern lights light up parts of uk last night absolutely stunning and beautiful – Tracy Osborne (Via X – Previously twitter)

A Met Office spokesperson explained: “The chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis in the UK is waning. Add into that the fact that there is a lot of cloud over the coming days the chances of seeing the phenomena is unlikely now.”

But hope is not lost. Professor Jim Wild, space physicist from the University of Lancaster said: “It all depends on what the Sun does in the next couple of days. At the moment that activity is subsiding, but we know there are potentially some more of these clouds of material on the way, and the Sun could emit more again because it is especially active at the moment.

“So I wouldn’t say no, there’s no chance, but I think Friday and Saturday were the main events.”

You may like