Spectacular colours light up the sky above North West and Isle of Man

Weather watchers across the North West and the Isle of Man have been wowed by a spectacular light show in the night sky.

Photographers raced to find their cameras to capture swathes of pinks, greens and purples illuminating an otherwise dark Sunday evening, 26 February.

If you missed it, there is a chance that the lights may show again this evening, 27 February.

Professor Jim Wild from Lancaster University "It's really nature's light show - the natural equivalent of a neon lamp above our heads.

"We get to sit beneath it and look up and enjoy it."

Weather presenter Emma Jesson explains the phenomenon

Craig Smith, 43, managed to snap the northern lights flickering in the skies above his hometown of Blackburn, Lancashire.

Mr Smith said: "I’ve seen the lights on several occasions from home (and they are) always great to see.

"The (coronal mass ejection) that hit Earth yesterday evening put on a great show.

"The lights were dancing. (It is) just a shame the clouds began rolling in just as it started."

The aurora borealis was visible in Lytham on the Fylde Coast, Lancashire Credit: ManAndDogPhotography

The lights, also known as aurora borealis, are the product of this collision between atoms and molecules from the Earth’s atmosphere and particles from the sun.

ITV Granada weather presenter Emma Jesson said they were a result of a minor-to-moderate geomagnetic storm directed at the earth.

The Met Office Tweeted: "A coronal hole high speed stream arrived this evening combined with a rather fast coronal mass ejection leading to Aurora sightings across the UK."

What do the different colours of the Northern Lights mean?

Lancaster University's AuroraWatch service will be tweeting updates on where and when the phenomenon may become visible on Monday evening, 27 February.

While the lights are a common sight at the edge of the Arctic Circle, they are usually only evident in northern England about once a year.

Prof Jim Wild told ITV Granada Reports that seeing them further south is much more unusual.

"We need geomagnetic activity to be very high like a big solar event," he said.

"To get a really good show like this, pushing the northern lights down to southern parts of England, we get it maybe a couple of times a decade, once a decade, something like that.

"So it's really quite a special event."

Will I be able to see the Northern Lights?

Emma Jesson said the aurora will return to the north tip of Scotland by 7 o'clock.

People in the North West and the Isle of Man may get chance to see the lights if they look northwards at a lower angle, she added.

She advised: "It's always best to get as far away from light pollution as you possibly can.

"The darker the skies, the more spectacular and dramatic the show is going to be.

"It really is worth staying up late for."

The sky looked on fire above Regaby on the Isle of Man Credit: Nigel Fairclough