Exact time you could see Northern Lights tonight after Met Office issues red alert

The Aurora, Northern Lights over Crosby Beach on Merseyside Photo by Colin Lane
The Aurora, Northern Lights over Crosby Beach on Merseyside -Credit:Colin Lane/Liverpool Echo

Brits across the country could be in with a chance of seeing the Northern Lights tonight. Also known as aurora borealis, the bands of pink and green light might be visible across parts of the UK later today.

It comes after the rare phenomenon was spotted in Britain last week. An 'extreme' geomagnetic storm made them visible far below the Arctic Circle, US government experts said.

The Met Office has now said the Northern Lights could return at 9pm tonight (Monday, May 20). A 'red alert' has been issued - which means the aurora might be visible from multiple parts of the UK.

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Data indicates 'chances of seeing them at 9pm in Scotland and Northern Ireland. There is also a slight chance people in northern England and north Wales could also catch a glimpse of the aurora, The Sun reports.

The Northern Lights are expected to gradually disappear overnight but forecasters have not ruled out sightings later this week. Aurora displays take place when charged particles beam out from sunspots and collide with the Earth's atmosphere around the poles.

Met Office space expert Krista Hammond said: "We're currently at solar maximum and we're seeing more sunspots. The sunspot region will be be coming back round onto the Earth facing side of the sun.

"If we see more sunspots, we see this increased frequency in space weather and therefore the aurora."