This stunning image was taken by Marisa Cashill in BolsoverThis stunning image was taken by Marisa Cashill in Bolsover
This stunning image was taken by Marisa Cashill in Bolsover

Northern Lights set to return tonight - as stunning photos show aurora borealis across Derbyshire

If you woke up this morning filled with regret over missing the Northern Lights - don't worry. They're set to return tonight.

The Northern Lights danced through the skies and wowed people across the UK on Friday night. But many also managed to miss out on the spectacle and might be wondering if there will be a second chance to catch the aurora.

The bands of pink and green light were seen across the UK and in parts of Europe after an “extreme” geomagnetic storm caused them to be more visible, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The G5 geomagnetic storm, which is considered extreme and the strongest level of solar storm, hit Earth on Thursday. The cause of this storm was a “large, complex” sunspot cluster, 17 times the diameter of the Earth, according to the NOAA. The last storm with a G5 rating hit Earth more than 20 years ago in October 2003 and caused power outages in Sweden, Professor Carole Haswell told the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme on Saturday morning.

Will the Northern Lights be visible on Saturday?

Chris Snell, a meteorologist at the Met Office, said there were sightings “from top to tail across the country”.

He said: “It is hard to fully predict what will happen in the Earth’s atmosphere, but there will still be enhanced solar activity tonight, so the lights could be visible again in northern parts of the UK, including Scotland, Northern Ireland and the far north of England.”

He added that there were sightings in parts of Europe on Friday night as well, with the Met Office receiving pictures and information from locations including Prague and Barcelona.

What is best time to see Northern Lights?

Mr Snell advised those hoping to see the lights on Saturday to head to an area with low light pollution and to use a good camera, adding: “The best chance you have of seeing the lights is if you are away from street lights and areas with lots of light pollution, as any type of light does have a big effect. Also, at this time of year, we are fighting the shorter length of nights, so it is unlikely that they will be visible until around 10.30pm or 11 o’clock when it gets really dark.”

Given the lights are not expected to be as bright as they were on Friday, you may need to employ some camera tricks to get the most out of your photo if you are heading out tonight.

Aurora visibility may persist through tonight, but as it stands this is likely to be less widespread than on Friday night with northern parts of the UK most likely to continue to have the best viewing potential.

At this time of year, when nights are shorter, the night is darkest between 11.30pm into the early hours of the morning.

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