Although you normally only see the Northern Lights from within or close to the Arctic Circle, they are occasionally visible from parts of northern Scotland. Yesterday, however, star gazers from all over the UK were given a real treat when conditions were just right for them to be seen from all over Britain.
The Northern Lights are caused by the interaction of a stream of charged particles escaping the Sun, known as the Solar Wind, with the Earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere.
The Earth’s magnetic field becomes distorted and allows some of these charged particles to enter the atmosphere at the magnetic north and south poles. These charged particles interact with the gases in our atmosphere and make make them glow – just like gas in a fluorescent tube.
The solar wind causes the Earth’s magnetic field lines to momentarily disconnect and it is when these field lines “snap back” into position the charged particles in the atmosphere create the aurora. The more magnetic field lines that disconnect and snap back, the further south the Northern Lights can be seen.
The newspapers are full of wonderful images taken by people from all over the United Kingdom but the best I have seen so far is this time-lapse sequence taken by Beaumaris photographer Kris Williams of the Aurora Borealis Over Penmon, Anglesey.