Stunning photos show Northern Lights across South West - as Met Office predicts more tonight

The Northern Lights at Watergate Bay in Cornwall last night Credit: Twitter/@Kernow_Astro

A very rare display of Northern Lights was captured on camera as far south as Cornwall last night (Sunday 26 February).

Experts say the best places to see the aurora are usually concentrated around the polar regions but the aurora borealis can sometimes be seen in the UK.

Last night, many people in Cornwall, Devon, Wiltshire and Dorset reported seeing the beautiful displays and shared pictures of the lights online.

There could be another chance to see the lights this evening in the West Country, according to meteorologists.

The Northern Lights were photographed in Dorset Credit: Twitter/@GarethHLloyd

People are more likely to see the phenomenon the further north they are, but the Northern Lights have previously been recorded in areas such as Cornwall and Kent, including on Dartmoor last summer.

What are the Northern Lights?

The Northern Lights can be explained as an interaction of the solar wind and the Earth's magnetic field.

Known as the Aurora Borealis, the lights appear in the clear night sky as swirling rivers of greenish-blue light. They move in an unpredictable way and suddenly grow vivid.

Scientists say the conditions need to be just right for them to be visible. People are more likely to see Northern Lights on dark and clear nights with little light pollution.

  • Watch Northern Lights appearing across the UK last night

What causes the Northern Lights?

The Northern Lights happen when disturbances on the sun pull on the Earth's magnetic field.

Electromagnetic waves launch electrons at high speeds into the Earth's atmosphere, which creates the aurora.

These storms are short-lived periods of high geomagnetic activity.

How often are the Northern Lights seen over the UK?

In the far north of Scotland, you can usually see the aurora every few months, but sightings become a lot rarer as you travel further south.

The Met Office said another display is likely this evening (27 February).

The lights were also seen in Corsley, Wiltshire Credit: Mike Read

Meteorologists from the office explained: "Ideally, the lights will be best viewed away from any light pollution, in remote areas, facing the northern horizon.

"The lights generally extend from 50 miles to as high as 400 miles above the Earth's surface.

"The best conditions to view the lights are when the sky is dark and clear of any clouds."