‘Stunning’ Northern Lights spotted across the UK

The Northern Lights has lit up the night sky with rare sightings across the country.

The Northern Lights, also known as aurora borealis, has been spotted in Whitley Bay on the north east coast, Essex, Cambridgeshire and Wokingham in Berkshire.

They were also spotted in Suffolk, Kent, Hampshire and Liverpool.

Spring weather May 10th 2024
The lights glow on the horizon at Another Place by Anthony Gormley, Crosby Beach, Liverpool , Merseyside (Peter Byrne/PA)

Kathleen Cunnea, in Great Horkesley, Essex, said: “It was absolutely stunning to see.”

The visibility of the Northern Lights was increased on Friday because of an “extreme” geomagnetic storm, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Spring weather May 11th 2024
The aurora borealis glow on the horizon in Great Horkesley, Essex (Kathleen Cunnea/PA)

The cause of this storm is a “large, complex” sunspot cluster and is 17 times the diameter of earth, with the last storm with a G5 rating hitting earth in October 2003, causing power outages in Sweden.

The NOAA said the lights could be seen as far south as Alabama and southern California in the US.

Spring weather May 10th 2024
The  lights in Basingstoke in Hampshire (Andrew Matthews/PA)

He said: “Although the shorter nights will limit the visibility window, there’s a good chance to see the aurora, particularly on Friday night and especially in Scotland, Ireland and parts of northern England and Wales.

“There could even be visibility further south if you have the right equipment.

Spring weather May 11th 2024
Handout photo taken with permission from the social media site X, formerly Twitter, posted by @wineismysaviourof the aurora borealis just outside of Warboys in Cambridgeshire (Jan Ellis Huntingdon/PA)

Mr Dixon said the combination of clear skies and enhanced activity from the sun reaching Earth would improve the chances of seeing the display.

Aurora displays occur when charged particles collide with gases in the Earth’s atmosphere around the magnetic poles.

Spring weather May 10th 2024
The aurora borealis at St Mary’s Lighthouse in Whitley Bay on the North East coast (Owen Humphreys/PA)

When activity is strong, this expands to cover a greater area – which explains why displays can be occasionally seen as far south as the UK.

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