Northern Lights could be visible in northern parts of UK again tonight

The aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights, above Arthurs Seat and Salisbury Crags in Holyrood Park, Edinburgh. Picture date: Friday May 10, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story WEATHER Aurora. Photo credit should read: Jane Barlow/PA Wire
The aurora borealis -Credit:Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Stargazers in northern parts of the UK could be treated to another showing of the northern lights tonight.

The Met Office space forecasts predicts that the 'auroral oval' is likely to be visible tonight (May 20-21) as well as Tuesday night (May 22-22). It comes a few weeks after skies across the country were lit up purple, pink and green following a huge solar storm.

The Met Office said there is 'reasonable confidence' of sightings across parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland where skies are clear. Visibility could extent as far south as northern England and North Wales. Following this, the auroral oval is expected to remain 'quiet although confidence is lower than usual.'

READ MORE: Expert explains why we may see more of the Northern Lights in the UK

A Met Office spokesperson told the Manchester Evening News: "There’s a chance of some aurora visibility in the far north of the UK tonight, with any viewing potential largely restricted to parts of northern Scotland and Northern Ireland. There’s a slight chance of capturing some imagery for those in the north of England and Wales, though it may mean taking a long exposure camera shot to capture anything."

Looking at the Met Office's weather forecast for tonight, those of us across Greater Manchester might just strike it lucky. Cloudy skies are predicted to remain in place until around 6pm when they'll be broken up by some sunny intervals.

The sunny intervals will wrap up for around 9pm, making way for a clear night sky from 10pm tonight until 2am as we head into Tuesday morning.

Although unfortunately tonight's lights won't be as strong as a few weekends ago. The spokesperson added: "It’s worth noting that any visibility is likely to be significantly less strong than what was seen a few weekends ago, when auroras could be seen over the vast majority of the UK.

"Tonight, any visibility is likely much further north, with some breaks in the cloud likely aiding visibility. Chances of enhanced aurora activity is expected to decline in the coming nights, though this is subject to ongoing assessment by the Met Office Space Weather Operations Centre."

How to see the Northern Lights:

  1. Move Away from Light Pollution: Find a spot away from city lights. National parks and remote areas are ideal.

  2. Be Patient and Prepared: Dress warmly, as you'll be outside in cold conditions for several hours. Bring snacks, a hot drink, and a blanket or portable chair.

  3. Photography Tips:

    • Use a camera with manual settings.

    • Set a low aperture (f/2.8 or lower).

    • Use a high ISO setting (800-3200).

    • Set a long exposure time (10-25 seconds).

    • Use a tripod to keep your camera steady.