Northern Lights could be visible from Stoke-on-Trent and beyond tonight - tips, tricks and how to get the best pics

Forecasts suggest that the Northern Lights may grace our nights skies tonight potentially delighting viewers in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire and across the UK. As per meteorological experts at BBC Weather, aurora borealis sightings could be possible as darkness falls on May 9.

The heavenly spectacle is something many dream of witnessing, yet specific conditions must align for this to occur.

For those keen to catch a glimpse during such rare occurrences, it's advised to find a location with minimal light pollution. For those in North Staffordshire, suggested spots include heading to remote parts of the Staffordshire Moorlands such as Flash or near Tittesworth Reservoir. Another spot could be Cannock Chase or anywhere east of Leek or in the Peak District National Park.

We won't be treated to an extensive display; however, there appears to be an opportunity for a fleeting glimpse. On Thursday evening, BBC Weather offered an update via X platform, announcing, "Next chance to see the Northern Lights will be Friday night. Sightings expected across Scotland and parts of Northern Ireland with clear skies."

They continued: "Chance of briefly becoming visible from northern England and North Wales too. #auroraborealis."

The Met Office provides an explanation of this splendid natural occurrence, stating that the aurora happens "as a consequence of solar activity and result from collisions of charged particles in the solar wind colliding with molecules in the Earth's upper atmosphere."

The dramatic display often unfolds as large patches of colours such as green, pink, and blue illuminating the sky.

Met Office spokesman Stephen Dixon explained that the aurora will be visible tonight mostly across the north of the UK, but it could be visible further south if you have the right equipment.

He said: "Although the shorter nights will limit the visibility window, there's a good chance to see the aurora, particularly on Friday night and especially in Scotland, Ireland and parts of northern England and Wales.

"There could even be visibility further south if you have the right equipment. Those conditions could continue on Saturday night but we still have to work out some details on where exactly that will be."

Mr Dixon said the combination of clear skies and enhanced activity from the sun reaching Earth would improve the chances of seeing the display.

ITV weatherman Chris Page gave some advice for those iwanting to see the aurora.

He advised looking through your camera with a long exposure, keeping the camera steady so it can pick up the image. You will need to look towards the northern horizon, so make sure you download a compass app on your phone in advance (or get out your physical compass, if you have one).

To take long exposure video on your phone, you can select 'night' mode.

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