There may be more chances to see the Northern Lights over Jersey…

Grosnez Castle. Picture: Marc Whitehad (38038327)

THE skies above Jersey may have glowed pink and purple over the weekend, but many Islanders were left green with envy after missing out on a rare chance to see the Northern Lights.

But there is some good news for those who failed to catch a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis in recent days – further displays may be possible over the coming months.

Jersey Astronomy Club founder Neil Mahrer, one of many to have witnessed the spectacular display on Friday night, said the sun would remain in “solar maximum” phase across much of the rest of 2024, so further displays are on the cards.

“The sun has an 11-year cycle and so the chances are good that we could get further displays over the rest of the summer and into the autumn while it’s still at its peak, but whether they are as spectacular as we saw on Friday night is another matter,” he said.

The sky over St Ouen late on Friday night. Prcture: Kayla Kenealy (38038331)

Mr Mahrer, who founded the club in the mid-1990s, said that while some Islanders had recalled seeing a vivid display of the Aurora in 2003, he did not recall that year’s show being as striking as the May 2024 version.

“We were just incredibly lucky that the geomagnetic storm coincided with a clear night and a moon that was low on the horizon – a full moon would have significantly reduced the impact, and cloud cover would have stopped it altogether,” he said.

Many people in Jersey who did not venture out late on Friday night or during the early hours of Saturday tried their luck on Saturday night, but were thwarted by far less favourable conditions… and rare night-time traffic jams in some coastal parishes.

Video by Neil Mahrer

Mr Mahrer said there had been a “manageable” gathering of up to 50 people on the headland at Plémont on Friday night, with the best conditions experienced around half an hour after arriving by those whose eyes had become accustomed to the conditions. Things were far busier 24 hours later, he acknowledged.

“It was chaos in some areas with loads of people trying to find somewhere to park, and in the end the solar activity died down and there was a lot less to see,” he said.

As well as Plémont, other areas that were busy included Corbière, Grosnez Castle and Les Platons.

Sorel Point. Picture: Charles Cushen (38038339)

Mr Mahrer – whose only previous glimpse came from a plane while flying back to Europe from the USA – said that he had met some Islanders over the weekend who had made trips to places like Iceland and Finland in the past, but who had witnessed less vivid displays than the one on show in their Jersey “back yard”.

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