Sightings were reported across the UK on Wednesday – from as far south as Cornwall, as well as in Greater Manchester, Northumberland and the Lake District.
Skygazers across the UK have a chance to witness the Northern Lights until Saturday.
The Met Office forecast suggests the phenomenon, also known as the Aurora Borealis, could be visible to the naked eye along the northern horizon from Scotland, where skies are clear.
The Northern Lights may also illuminate the sky in Northern Ireland and northern England.
A minor enhancement to the aurora oval – which determines the range of polar lights – means the dazzling display is visible further south.
It is usually associated with Scandinavian countries in Europe, but can sometimes be seen in the UK.
People reported sightings across the nation on Wednesday – from as far south as Cornwall, as well as in Greater Manchester, Northumberland and the Lake District.
Lancaster University’s AuroraWatch, run by the Space and Planetary Physics group, issued a “red alert” on Wednesday, meaning “it is likely that aurora will be visible by eye and camera from anywhere in the UK”.
The activity is expected to start subsiding from Saturday.
— Glenn Harrold (@glenn182) September 14, 2023
How can you see the phenomenon?
Professor Don Pollacco, of the University of Warwick’s department of physics, said it would be difficult to predict exactly where the Northern Lights could be seen, because conditions change rapidly.
“However, one thing is for sure, and that is that you are unlikely to see them from a brightly lit city environment – you need to go somewhere dark and look towards the northern horizon [look for the North Star].
“So, you would preferably be in the countryside away from street lights. Of course, it also needs to clear.”
Explaining what the lights are, Professor Pollacco added: “The Northern Lights [Aurora Borealis] are caused by the interaction of particles coming from the sun, the solar wind, with the Earth’s atmosphere – channelled to the polar regions by the Earth’s magnetic field.