Good news if you missed the Northern Lights as aurora borealis could return to some UK skies tonight

20 May 2024, 08:06 | Updated: 20 May 2024, 12:18

Aurora borealis (northern lights), boreal forest, Yellowknife environs, NWT, Canada
Parts of the north of the UK will be treated to another show of the Northern Lights. Picture: Alamy

By Flaminia Luck

Good news for anyone who missed the aurora borealis last weekend as more of the spectacular natural light show is on the way.

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Forecasters say the Northern Lights could be visible again tonight in the "far north of the UK".

The Met Office said parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland will have a chance of viewing the aurora.

However, they added it will be significantly less strong than the last week when people across the country were treated to a dazzling display of the light show.

Read more: Pictured: Stunning Northern Lights visible across the country due to ‘huge solar storm’

A strong solar storm creates a bright display of the northern lights at Beadnell in Northumberland.
A strong solar storm creates a bright display of the northern lights at Beadnell in Northumberland. Picture: Alamy

On Monday, the Met Office tweeted: "There's a chance of some aurora visibility in the far north of the UK tonight, with any viewing potential largely restricted to Scotland and Northern Ireland.

"Any visibility will be significantly less strong than was seen around two weeks ago, when auroras were seen over much of the UK."

The forecaster added chances of enhanced aurora activity is expected to decline after tonight.

A geomagnetic storm is expected to hit earth within the next fortnight and later parts of May, the forecaster said.

Krista Hammond, a space weather expert for the Met Office, said more solar activity would mean a strong chance of sightings “in the coming weeks, months and years”.

She added the sunspot region will be rotated back towards earth in 10 to 12 days, increasing the chances for further geomagnetic storms and displays of the Northern Lights.

“The sunspot region will be be coming back round on to the Earth-facing side of the sun,” she said.

Northern lights gracing skies of Scotland
Northern lights gracing skies of Scotland. Picture: Getty

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

She explained: “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.”

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

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