ITV News Correspondent Chloe Keedy reports live from Hertfordshire where night sky watchers hoped to catch a rare sight of the Northern Lights
The Northern Lights may be visible once again to people across the UK on Thursday night as a strong solar flare could give those as far south as Devon another spectacular display of aurora borealis.
The natural phenomenon was visible to the naked eye in parts of southern England on Wednesday night due to what is known as a coronal mass ejection.
A Met Office space weather expert said there could be more stunning aurora borealis shows overnight as the conditions continue.
Krista Hammond said: “As was predicted by the Met Office Space Weather Operations Centre, a coronal mass ejection impacted with the Earth yesterday.
“The resulting strong geomagnetic storm meant the Northern Lights were visible across large areas of the UK overnight last night.
“We’ve had reports that the aurora could even be seen in some central areas of the UK, which is possible when a storm of this magnitude impacts the Earth.”
“This means there is the potential for further sightings of the Northern Lights overnight, although there will be spells of patchy cloud over Scotland which could limit visibility in places.”
Where might I see the Northern Lights in the UK?
You are more likely to see the aurora with the naked eye the further north you are, but the Met Office say more southerly than usual:
Ms Hammond said more space weather events were expected over the coming years to around 2025 as the sun goes through its cycle of activity.
Aurora-watcher Julie Winn, from Hexham, Northumberland, drove an hour into the Scottish Borders to find a dark patch of sky away from light pollution, and was delighted with what she saw.
She said: “It was better than I have seen for a long time, clearly visible to the naked eye, with subtle colours of pink and green above.”
For some, such as Paul Spackman, 54, this was the first time they had been able to see the phenomenon.
The graphic designer, from near Ennerdale in Cumbria, said he had been using apps for five years in an effort to catch a glimpse.
“Last night, when I got a red alert on both apps, I popped on my dressing gown and went into the garden and spent some time scanning the sky.
“I was amazed at what I saw. I’ve never seen them before but I’ve always wanted to ever since I was young and was hoping one day to visit Norway to see them.
“Hard to put into words really, but it gave me goosebumps all over.”
Met Office tips on seeing the Northern Lights
You need a clear night with no cloud cover
Find a dark location with no light pollution
Look toward the northern horizon
Be cautious that geomagnetic activity can cause disturbances to satellite navigation (GNSS/GPS etc)