New Northern Lights alert for England on Saturday, May 18 - best weather conditions and how to get phone notifications

Londoners have been eagerly awaiting the return of the Northern Lights after catching a glimpse of the spectacle last weekend and there's now been an alert for today, May 18. The Met Office have also explained the best weather conditions to see the Northern Lights in the night sky and there's also a handy way to keep up to date with when they could be sighted via notifications on your phone.

Met Office say that the best conditions to see the Aurora Borealis will be when the sky is dark and clear as any cloud cover would block the light. It would be best to be placed as far away from light pollution as you can be, in a remote area and facing the northern horizon - and while this is tricky to achieve in the capital it is still possible to see the lights above the city.

The lights are best seen also the further North you are, like in Scotland, North England, North Wales and Northern Ireland, however, there is a chance that we can see them in London because of the solar storm.

READ MORE: What the Northern Lights are and what causes them

Geomagnetic activity for Saturday, May 18
There is a red alert predicted for later today (May 18) when the Northern Lights would be most visible -Credit:AuroraWatchUK

According to the Met Office: "The best conditions to view the lights are when the sky is dark and clear of any clouds. Cloud cover ultimately blocks the view of the light. Ideally, the lights will be best viewed away from any light pollution, in remote areas, facing the northern horizon - north facing coasts produce some of the best viewing locations. The northern lights are most active during the Equinox and Solstice in March/April and September/October."

Chances of Northern Lights on Saturday, May 18

An alert for minor geomagnetic activity has been issued by AuroraWatchUK this morning which means that the aurora could be visible in certain parts of the UK.

They said: "Aurora may be visible by eye from Scotland and may be visible by camera from Scotland, northern England and northern Ireland."

While they haven't yet mentioned London there was a red alert issue last night for chance to see the Northern Lights in England and while the day is young, there's still a chance another alert will be issued later or there's time to hop on a train.

Is the weather tonight good for spotting the Aurora?

According to the Met Office, the weather tonight is set to have some clear spell but there is a chance of fog. They have forecast: "Heavy showers and thunderstorms slowly dying out later in the evening, replaced by drier weather and some clear spells. Low cloud and fog may encroach inland around the Thames Estuary. Minimum temperature 10 °C."

The fog may cause an issue with visibility this evening if there is a chance the Northern Lights could make a return, but hopefully the sky clears up enough that phone camera will be able to detect the spectacle.

The most powerful solar storm in two decades has struck Earth
The Northern Lights are coming so far South because of the most powerful solar storm in two decades -Credit:PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

How to get alerts to your phone so you don't miss the Northern Lights

AuroraWatch UK is a free service offering alerts of when the aurora might be visible from the UK. It is run by scientists in the Space and Planetary Physics group at Lancaster University’s Department of Physics.

You can find it in your phone’s App store called AuroraWatch UK Aurora Alerts. If you download it, you will get a message on your phone when there is activity likely to lead to the Northern Lights. On Saturday a red alert was sent out, which you can see in the picture above.

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