Northern Lights Could Illuminate UK Skies

The Northern Lights could illuminate skies over northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland on Friday.

Two large explosions on the Sun have sent massive amounts of magnetically charged particles heading for Earth.

The Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) can produce mesmerising patterns of green, pink, red, blue and yellow light.

The variations in colour are due to the type of gas particles colliding.

The first CME should arrive overnight and a second one later on Friday, with their combined effect increasing the chance of seeing a display.

Their unusual close timing and direct path toward Earth has raised concerns that GPS signals, radio communications and power transmissions could be disrupted.

Thomas Berger, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Centre in the US, said: “The unique thing about this event is that we’ve had two in close succession and the CMEs could possibly be interacting on their way to Earth, at the Earth’s orbit or beyond. We just don’t know that yet.”

Sky-gazers should look at around midnight to get the best chance of seeing the lights, also known as the aurora borealis.

Some cloud and fog patches are expected on Friday night but forecasters say there will also be some clear skies.

Getting away from the artificial light of urban areas also makes viewing easier.

In February, the Northern Lights were seen as far south as Essex, south Wales, Gloucestershire and Norfolk.

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12 September 2014 | 1:12 am – Source:

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