England and Northern Ireland could see Northern Lights as geomagnetic storm hits Earth

The Northern Lights as seen in Cullen, Scotland, on September 30. Photo: Euan Dalgliesh, Wild Moray Pics
The Northern Lights in Scotland on September 30. Credit: PA/Euan Dalgliesh

The Northern Lights could be seen as far south as northern England today due to a geomagnetic storm hitting Earth.

On Sunday the Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), part of the United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), issued a geomagnetic storm warning for Monday and Tuesday.

The NOAA says a geomagnetic storm is a major disturbance of Earth's magnetosphere that occurs when there is heightened activity caused by solar winds in the space environment surrounding Earth.

ITV News Correspondent Peter Smith captures the Northern Lights in Norway

They can impact satellites and disrupt global communications, as well as enhance the Northern Lights.

The Met Office said: "Aurora is possible through [the] 11th across much of Scotland, although cloud amounts are increasing, meaning sightings are unlikely.

They added: "There is a slight chance of aurora reaching the far north of England and Northern Ireland tonight, but cloud breaks and therefore sightings are more likely in Northern Ireland."

The Aurora, or Northern Lights, is a regularly occurring phenomenon which appears at the top of the northern hemisphere.

The Sun on October 10 Credit: Met Office

They are caused by disturbances to the magnetosphere caused by solar winds and are enhanced by events like geomagnetic storms.The NOAA said the geomagnetic storm could reach category G2, which is moderately strong, which could cause power grid fluctuations and voltage alarms at higher altitudes.

Met Office prediction of the Aurora coverage for Monday and Tuesday

They said their model says they expect it to hit Earth around midday US time (early evening UK time) and last until Tuesday.

The Earth is currently in the early stages of a period of increased solar activity.

Astronomers detected a large cluster of sunspots on the sun last year, which usually indicates a higher chance of solar flares and magnetic activity.

The Northern Lights appeared at the top of Scotland a few weeks ago, with people in Orkney, Moray and the Isle of Lewis taking pictures of the phenomenon.