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‘Good chance’ of seeing Northern Lights in the UK tonight

todayNovember 11, 2023

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‘Good chance’ of seeing Northern Lights in the UK tonight

There is a “good chance” the Northern Lights will be on display in parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland this weekend and may even treat parts of northern England and Wales, the Met Office has said.

The forecaster suggests the phenomenon, also known as the Aurora Borealis, is most likely to be on show on Saturday night into Sunday.

“Auroral displays down to Scotland, Northern Ireland and similar geomagnetic latitudes are likely, and perhaps extending to include parts of northern England and Wales,” it said.

But stargazers are being warned that cloud cover could impact visibility.

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The phenomenon can be notoriously hard to spot with the naked eye – even in countries such as Norway and Iceland where sightings are more common.

However, it can occasionally be seen in the UK.

Last week the Northern Lights flooded skies across the UK with colour during bonfire night weekend.

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How a ‘filament eruption’ sparked northern lights

The Met Office confirmed the phenomenon had been “observed across Scotland” and was “clearly visible from Shetland webcams”.

Sightings were also “reported across some central and eastern parts of England” last Sunday night, the weather agency said.

An array of pink and yellow hues were even reportedly seen as far south as Stonehenge in Wiltshire.

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Pink aurora seen over Ottawa

Read more:
Spectacular photos capture Northern Lights across UK

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According to the Royal Observatory Greenwich, different gases determine what colours light up the sky, with nitrogen and oxygen being the primary gases in Earth’s atmosphere.

Green in the aurora is a characteristic of solar energy interacting with oxygen, while purple, blue or pink hues are caused by nitrogen.

A deep red can sometimes be seen when the aurora is “particularly energetic”, as a result of very high altitude oxygen interacting with solar particles.

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