Northern Lights paint gorgeous picture in North East skies

Stargazers across the UK were treated to a dazzling display of the Northern Lights over the weekend.

Monday, 7th March 2016, 7:49 am
Updated Monday, 7th March 2016, 7:56 am
The Northern Lights, taken at Seaburn. Picture: Dean Matthews.

The aurora borealis was visible as far south as Oxfordshire as skies cleared yesterday evening, painting the night sky with shades of green, purple and blue.

The ethereal spectacle is caused by charged solar particles interacting with the Earth's magnetic field and is usually only visible in the far north of Scotland.

The Northern Lights, taken at Whitburn. Picture: RGM Photo.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

A "lucky combination" of conditions in the lower atmosphere and in space meant the phenomenon was visible across swathes of the country, Met Office space weather adviser Amanda Townsend said.

"Once in a while the solar winds are enhanced to levels stronger than normal, with particles at higher speeds, and on this occasion it has connected really well with the Earth's magnetic field," she added.

In addition to the cosmic weather being just right, conditions closer to the ground favoured those who ventured out into the cold March night.

Many took to social media to share their photos of the Northern Lights, including views from Oxfordshire, the Isle of Man, Donegal and Aberdeen.

The Northern Lights, taken at Whitburn. Picture: RGM Photo.

Mark McIntyre tweeted several images showing a purple tinge to skies around seven miles north of Oxford, saying: "If there were ever a nice powercut in Banbury I'd be happy!"

Those who missed the stellar light show in England might have to wait a while for the next display.

"The strongest part of the geomagnetic storm has passed and it probably won't be as strong on Monday night, so the main places to see aurora will be in north Scotland," Ms Townsend said.

Do you have any pictures of the Northern Lights in the North East? Send them to us now.