Exact dates Northern Lights could be visible over Scotland - and it's just days away

Northern lights
-Credit: (Image: Getty)


The Northern Lights could soon be putting on a spectacular show again, as consistent solar storms from the sun are set to light up the skies.

Stargazers who missed out on previous Northern Lights, or want to see them again - will want to mark their calendars for early June, particularly between the 6th and 9th. These dates are when the chances of witnessing this celestial dance are expected to increase.

The sun's 27-day rotation means that recent solar storms haven't impacted us, but as it swings back around with sustained activity, we may see a repeat performance.

A significant solar event was detected by the European Space Agency's Solar Orbiter spacecraft on May 20, occurring on the far side of the sun. This X12-class flare, the most intense since September 2017, suggests an uptick in solar flare activity is on the horizon.

Prospects for viewing the aurora are promising, according to the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, with potential visibility in parts of the US, Europe, and Canada. In Europe, prime spots include Norway, Sweden, and cities like Trondheim, Oslo, Stockholm, and Helsinki.

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Northern lights
You might see them again! -Credit:Getty

Ryan French, a solar physicist at the National Solar Observatory in Boulder, Colorado, took to social media platform X (formerly Twitter) to share news of the major flare. French remarked: "Although not visible to Earth, old AR 13664 (responsible for recent solar storms) just popped off its biggest flare yet! Measured by the Solar Orbiter spacecraft behind the Sun, the flare is estimated as an X12-class, this flare also caused a huge CME behind the Sun.", reports the Mirror.

The solar flare is a colossal sunspot that's 15 times wider than Earth. These sunspots are the result of intense magnetic activity, and solar flares are caused by the sudden release of energy stored in the sun's magnetic fields.

This energy triggers a "solar storm" and if the sunspot is facing the Earth it can be seen from our planet.

The solar physicist also indicated the sunspot would be visible from Earth again on June 6. The previous solar storm also occurred during the new moon which allowed for a clearer view of the Northern Lights.

During the new moon, the sky is darker with not as much light from the moon, which would be the ideal scenario for viewing the lights. Speaking to Live Science, French said: "As soon as the sunspot starts to appear, we will enter the window of opportunity [for viewing auroras].

"Earth is most affected by solar storms when the sunspot reaches the middle of the sun as seen from our planet. That's exactly where it produced all of those large flares.

"However, we could still be affected if another solar flare is as intense as they have been. But in theory, if you had a large enough eruption, even if it's to the left of the sun's centre, we could still get the edge of that impact."

It's possible that solar flares will continue to occur from the sunspot in the following months. As well and this, it could mean more chances to see the Northern Lights outside its usual place.

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