Northern Lights: aurora borealis phenomenon could be seen over UK and US skies for next few weeks, experts say

Coinciding events in space have brought the spectacular event much further south than it can usually be seen

Andrew Griffin
Thursday 08 October 2015 08:54 BST

The Northern Lights are to be visible for much of the UK for the next few weeks, because of a strange quirk of space weather.

People in the north of England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland are in with a higher chance of seeing the phenomenon, according to the Met Office. But it may come even further south at times.

The best way to see the lights is to head somewhere as dark and away from light pollution as possible. Visibility will be better further north.

The extra visibility is caused by a burst of solar wind coming from a “coronal hole” in the Sun, which is in line with the worth and is shooting solar winds at the planet. That has combined with the time of year to make the Northern Lights extra visible.

The aurora borealis, or the northern lights as they are commonly known, over Derwent water near Keswick in the Lake District.

A Met Office spokesman said: "We are now in a period, lasting a few weeks, where these two factors are working together to increase the chances of geomagnetic disturbances, which in turn bring with them the aurora.

"The strength of the disturbance directly relates to how far south the aurora is visible, or how far north if you are in the southern hemisphere, and of course you need clear skies to see it.

"The season of the year has an influence. The science behind this is not fully understood, but the two equinoctial periods in spring and autumn tend to produce an increase in aurora compared with winter and summer."

The lights will be spreading from the very north of the world all the way down, so will be visible in the north of the US and potentially across Europe too.

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