Space weather event offers more opportunities to see the Northern Lights across the UK

Space weather event offers more opportunities to see the Northern Lights across the UK

Parts of Britain are more likely to see the ‘Northern Lights’ this weekend, following a major solar flare from the Sun on Thursday 28 October.

The Northern Lights (or the aurora borealis to use its official name) occur when massive amounts of charged particles eject from the Sun and interact with Earth’s magnetic field. When charged particles collide with gas molecules in our planet’s upper atmosphere, the resulting energy is seen as a stunning visual display of green and pink light in the night sky.

Aurora predicts Halloween weekend from October 20 to 21, 2021 Responsible for: got office

In the UK, the best chances of seeing the Northern Lights are usually in Scotland and the far north of England and Northern Ireland. This is because “lights” are naturally attracted to the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres, so the further north you go to the UK, the more likely you are to see these poles.

Aurora Borealis 4-16-21 as seen from Milam, South Cumbria Responsible for: Keith Clark

This weekend, you’ll be able to see the aurora filter further south, which means that locations south such as the Mid-Wales, the Midlands and parts of eastern England can see this stunning visual spectacle in the night sky.

Optimal viewing conditions for Northern Lights include dark cloudless skies, lack of light pollution from urban areas, and clear vision for the northern horizon.

The Northern Lights are expected to peak on Saturday evening. Weather conditions are favorable in the first half of the night, with an expected clear period. So there is a real opportunity to observe this optical phenomenon.

~~> Learn more about Aurora from the Met Office

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