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Northern Lights could be visible in the UK again TONIGHT – so where are the best places to see Aurora Borealis?

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The Northern Lights are due to be visible in the UK again, the Met Office said – and could even be seen tonight.

Last weekend, skies across Britain were lit up as the rare solar storm swept the planet.

Large swathes of the country including in Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Tyne and Wear, Essex, Berkshire and Kent were draped in a spectacular fluorescent hue. 

However, if you missed out on the natural wonders of the Aurora Borealis, there may be another chance to see it again soon.

The Northern Lights pictured in County Cavan, Ireland on May 10 as skies across Britain and Ireland were lit up by the natural wonders 

If you missed out on the natural wonders of the Aurora Borealis, there may be another chance to see it again soon. Pictured: Crosby beach in Liverpool with the Northern Lights as a stunning back drop

If you missed out on the natural wonders of the Aurora Borealis, there may be another chance to see it again soon. Pictured: Crosby beach in Liverpool with the Northern Lights as a stunning back drop

The Aurora Borealis last weekend pouring over the National Monument of Scotland in Edinburgh

The Aurora Borealis last weekend pouring over the National Monument of Scotland in Edinburgh

The Met Office’s space forecast, issued in the early hours of this morning, said: ‘Some enhancement to the aurora is likely into early 18 May following the arrival of a CME through the afternoon of the 17 May.’

Clear skies are the key, the forecast added: ‘The aurora may become visible perhaps very briefly for parts of northern Scotland where skies are clear before sunrise.’

However, they said the activity could decline and that there is ‘no significant activity expected overnight 18 into the 19 May’.

Despite this, the national weather forecaster added that it can’t be completely ruled out and that there is a ‘small chance’ of seeing the Northern Lights ‘near dawn on Sunday morning’ – with the north and Scotland having the best chance.  

Aurora Watch UK, run by scientists in the Space and Planetary Physics group, in the early hours of this morning initially issued an ‘amber alert’ for possible aurora.

This was later downgraded to a ‘yellow alert’ for ‘minor geomagnetic activity’.

The dazzling lights are caused by charged particles from the sun colliding with the Earth’s atmosphere.

The latest sun storm activity follows a period of flares and mass ejections of coronal plasma that threatened to disrupt power and communications on Earth and in orbit. 

Met Office space weather expert Krista Hammond said the sunspot region will be rotated back towards Earth in 10 to 12 days’ time, paving the way for further geomagnetic storms and displays of the Northern Lights.

‘The sunspot region will be be coming back round onto the Earth facing side of the sun,’ she said.

The aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights, glowed on the horizon at St Mary's Lighthouse in Whitley Bay on the North East coast on May 10

The aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights, glowed on the horizon at St Mary’s Lighthouse in Whitley Bay on the North East coast on May 10

Northern Lights enthusiasts gathered in Tynemouth to enjoy the spectacular natural light show last weekend

Northern Lights enthusiasts gathered in Tynemouth to enjoy the spectacular natural light show last weekend 

An incredible display of the Northern Lights in Dunseverick, County Antrim on May 11

An incredible display of the Northern Lights in Dunseverick, County Antrim on May 11

Aurora displays occur when charged particles collide with gases in the Earth’s atmosphere around the magnetic poles.

The sun is currently in the most active period of its 11-year cycle.

Ms Hammond said: ‘We’re currently at solar maximum and we’re seeing more sunspots.

‘If we see more sunspots, we see this increased frequency in space weather and therefore the aurora.’

The forecaster downplayed the chances of a full repeat of last weekend’s display, but said more solar activity would mean a good chance of sightings ‘in the coming weeks, months and years’.

‘It was such a unique set of circumstances that happened last weekend.

‘The chances of the same sunspots doing the same thing again – It’s probably quite slim.

‘I wouldn’t be surprised if it comes around and there’s some activity on it, but it won’t be I doubt, a repeat performance.’

Where displays can be seen in the UK is dictated by the ‘strength of geomagnetic storming’, she said.

The Aurora Borealis shone brightly behind Hartshead Pike in Tameside, Greater Manchester last weekend

The Aurora Borealis shone brightly behind Hartshead Pike in Tameside, Greater Manchester last weekend 

The Aurora Borealis, known as the Northern Lights, visible behind Anthony Gormley's 'Another Place' sculpture in Crosby on May 10

The Aurora Borealis, known as the Northern Lights, visible behind Anthony Gormley’s ‘Another Place’ sculpture in Crosby on May 10

There may even be some smaller mass ejections on their way to Earth in the coming days with the potential to create more beautiful displays, Ms Hammond said.

‘There are a couple of mass ejections on their way to Earth.

‘They’re a lot less powerful than what we saw last weekend, but they could bring aurora displays across predominantly northern parts of the UK, such as Scotland, Northern Ireland, north of England.

‘Just because we’re not seeing aurora across the whole of the UK, it doesn’t mean that we’re not going to see it in some areas,’ she said.

For a large display to be visible, activity must happen during the night time, and when there are clear skies, she added.

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