'Lucky combination' gives UK a dazzling Northern Lights display

Aurora Borealis, lights up the night sky over Covesea Lighthouse near Lossiemouth, Moray Credit: SWNS

Skies were painted shades of green, purple and blue on Sunday evening, thanks to a "lucky combination" of conditions that made the Northern Lights visible across large parts of the country.

A dazzling display of the the aurora borealis was seen as far south as Oxfordshire as skies cleared.

The colourful display is caused by charged solar particles interacting with the Earth's magnetic field and is usually only visible in the far north of Scotland.

Aurora Borealis, lights up the night sky over the ruins of Duffus Castle near Duffus, Moray Credit: SWNS

Met Office space weather adviser Amanda Townsend explained that conditions in the lower atmosphere and in space meant the aurora was visible across parts of the country.

"Once in a while the solar winds are enhanced to levels stronger than normal, with particles at higher speeds, and on this occasion it has connected really well with the Earth's magnetic field."

Aurora Borealis shines over Great Park in Newcastle Credit: PA

Those who missed the light show in England might have to wait a while for the next display.

"The strongest part of the geomagnetic storm has passed and it probably won't be as strong on Monday night, so the main places to see aurora will be in north Scotland," Ms Townsend said.

Damian Money captures the Northern Lights from Saltburn beach Credit: @damian_money
Aurora Borealis shines over St Marys Lighthouse near Whitley Bay in Northumberland Credit: PA
The aurora borealis over Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire Credit: SWNS
Aurora Borealis over the Sycamore Gap at Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland Credit: PA
The Northern Lights seen over Kielder Water in Northumberland Credit: SWNS