UK & World News

  • 28 February 2014, 16:05

Northern Lights Aurora Borealis Illuminate UK

The Aurora Borealis, normally only visible inside the Arctic Circle, has been seen lighting up skies as far south as Essex.

People across Britain and Ireland have been taking in some of the stunning views and sharing their photos on Twitter.

Last night, the lights were clearly visible in Glasgow, Orkney and Aberdeenshire in Scotland, at Preston in Lancashire and in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside.

:: Have you seen the lights? Send your images to news@sky.com

However, the brilliantly coloured natural phenomenon lit up skies as far south as Gloucestershire, Essex and Norfolk.

Alex Green, who was on the Norfolk Coast, said: "Clearly visible with the eye even this far south!"

Richard Wilson, from Guildford, Surrey, saw the aurora from the air. He tweeted: "Great view of the northern lights from 30,000 feet over Scotland tonight. Awesome sight!"

The fantastic display is caused by collisions between gaseous particles in the Earth's atmosphere with charged particles released from the Sun's atmosphere.

It comes after a major solar flare earlier in the week.

The variations in colour are due to the type of gas particles colliding.

The Northern Lights were discovered in 1621 by French scientist Pierre Gassendi, who named them Aurora - after the Roman goddess of dawn - Borealis, the Greek name for the north wind, Boreas.

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