How weather in space has given those in the south a chance of seeing the Northern Lights

Northern lights as seen from Millom. Credit: Keith Clarke

As a result of a large solar flare from the sun on Thursday 28 October, there is a higher chance than usual of seeing the 'Northern Lights' across parts of the UK this weekend.

The Northern Lights (or Aurora Borealis to use the official name) occur when huge amounts of charged particles explode from the sun and react with Earth's magnetic field.

As the charged particles collide with gas molecules in our planet's upper atmosphere the energy this gives off is then seen as a wonderful visual display of, most commonly, green and pink light in the night sky.

In the UK the best chance of seeing the aurora is normally in Scotland and the far north of England and Northern Ireland.

Aurora forecast Halloween weekend 20-21 Oct 2021 Credit: MET OFFICE

This is because the 'lights' are naturally drawn to the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres, so the further north in the UK you are, the better chance of catching sight of them.

This weekend the chance of seeing the Aurora filters further south, meaning places as far south as the Mid-Wales and the Midlands and parts of East England could see this fascinating visual display in the night sky.

Northern lights as seen from Millom, South Cumbria 16-4-21 Credit: KEITH CLARKE

Conditions for optimal aurora viewing include a dark cloud-free sky, lack of light pollution from urban areas, and a clear line of sight towards the northern horizon.

The aurora is expected to peak on Saturday night.

Weather conditions for the first half of the night are favourable, with clear spells expected.

So there's a real chance of viewing this optical phenomenon.