Stargazers across the UK were treated to a dazzling display of the Northern Lights on Sunday evening, with experts predicting there may even be another chance to see the spectacular sight on Monday as well.
The aurora borealis was visible as far south as Oxfordshire as skies cleared, 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.
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.”
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, Aberdeen and Yorkshire.
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!”
Harrogate was also treated to the lights and residents across the district spent the night, and early parts of this morning, ready to capture the show.
Scott Kirk-Matthewson was one resident who decided to photograph the display from the A59 at Kex Gill to produce a stunning image.
He said: “I up to the area behind Blubberhouses Quarry as I needed to get away from the light pollution of town.
“I knew that I’d need a quiet area so as to not have any cars around. The lights were not visible to the naked eye except as a faint light smudge on the cloud.”
Those who missed the stellar light show in England might still have a chance to see it Monday, but experts warn the best chance is in the far north.
“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.
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