Carol Kirkwood reveals where you 'might see Northern Lights tonight'
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The Northern Lights, also known as aurora borealis, are a natural phenomenon that causes curtains of coloured light in the night sky as a result of solar activity and coronal mass ejection colliding with magnetic fields. The UK is south of Norway, Iceland and Greenland, where the natural aurora belt occurs, so it takes an extreme geomagnetic storm to bring the belt over the UK. The Sun goes through an 11-year cycle from solar minimum to solar maximum and back again, and it just so happens minor geomagnetic activity could light up the sky in green and purple lights over the UK tonight. Express.co.uk reveals the best places to see the aurora borealis in the UK tonight, according to the National Trust.
The aurora borealis may be visible in the UK between 9pm and 11pm tonight, thanks to a rare geomagnetic storm.
Alex Beresford, GMB weather presenter predicted in a tweet this morning that we may be able to see the Northern Lights from the UK tonight.
He said: “There’s a chance to see the aurora tonight, more so in the north.
“Lots of solar activity and a release of plasma from the sun is set to collide with earth’s atmosphere in this beautiful light display.”
The Sun goes through an 11-year solar cycle, from solar minimum, through solar maximum and back to solar minimum.
The Met Office explained: “Solar maximum occurred in early 2014 so we are now in the declining phase of the solar cycle.
“During this phase the position of coronal holes on the Sun’s equator give rise to high-speed solar wind streams that buffet the Earth, disturbing the Earth’s magnetic field and increasing the likelihood of auroras.”
Seeing the aurora borealis in the UK is a very rare occurrence, but it often moves southwards across southern Iceland or towards the Faroes.
These auroras can be faintly visible from the UK because they occur at high altitudes.
Not everyone will be lucky enough to see the stunning event tonight, though.
Mr Beresford warned it may be too cloudy to see the northern lights and it is more likely in the North of the UK, such as in Scotland and Northern England.
This is because the light is centred around the north pole the further north you go.
If you live in a bustling city or near a motorway, your chances of seeing the northern lights tonight are lessened because light pollution disguises it.
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If you’re desperate to catch a glimpse of the aurora borealis tonight, the conditions have to be perfect.
The Met Office lists the following as essential for increasing your chances of seeing the aurora:
- You need a clear night with no cloud cover
- Find a dark location with no light pollution
- Look toward the northern horizon
- Be cautious that geomagnetic activity can cause disturbances to satellite navigation (GNSS/GPS etc)
The six best places to see the aurora borealis in the UK TONIGHT
You don’t have to travel to the Arctic to see the Northern Lights, make the most of tonight’s geomagnetic activity and head to a site where you might be able to see it.
The National Trust lists the following six places as the most likely spots in the UK to see the natural phenomenon:
- Derwentwater, Cumbria (the lights occasionally appear over the water)
- Brecon Beacons National Park, South Wales
- Broad Haven beach in Stackpole, Pembrokeshire
- Carneddau, Snowdonia
- The summit of Mam Tor, Peak District
- Sycamore Gap on Hadrian’s Wall, Northumberland
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