Northern Lights could be visible in the UK again this week

The Met Office Space Weather department has signalled there may be a chance we see the Northern Lights again this week <i>(Image: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/PA Images)</i>
The Met Office Space Weather department has signalled there may be a chance we see the Northern Lights again this week (Image: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/PA Images)

The Northern Lights could be visible in parts of the UK again as early as this week, according to the Met Office.

The Aurora Borealis stunned the nation last week, with dazzling light displays being visible as far south as Dorset, Essex, Cambridgeshire and Berkshire on Friday.

And the Met Office Space Weather department has signalled there may be “a slight chance” to see them again this week.

Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) impacts overnight on May 17 and May 18 may make the Northern Lights visible.

Bournemouth Echo: The aurora is concentrated at the Earth's north and south poles
Bournemouth Echo: The aurora is concentrated at the Earth's north and south poles

The aurora is concentrated at the Earth's north and south poles (Image: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire)

The forecasters explained: “These may bring some limited enhancement to the aurora, with the slight potential of allowing for some visibility as far south as northern Scotland or similar latitudes.”

Meanwhile AuroraWatch UK has issued an amber alert for the Northern Lights.

The programme is run by scientists in the Space and Planetary Physics group at Lancaster University’s Department of Physics.

An amber alert means that the Northern Lights could "possibly visible from elsewhere in the UK", with a likelihood of photographs from "anywhere" in the country.

However, Professor Jim Wild, from the university, told the Sun: “For now and obviously it’s not dark, so there is nothing to see.

"No guarantees for later today as it’s likely things will have quietened down by sunset."

Why have Aurora Borealis sightings increased this year?

In short Aurora Borealis sightings have increased in recent years and the explanation is well known in the science community, according to the Met Office.

Krista Hammond, a Manager at the Met Office Space Weather Operations Centre (MOSWOC), said: “Activity on the sun, and in particular the number of visible sunspots, varies over roughly an 11-year period, known as the solar cycle.”

The last solar minimum, which is when the Sun had the lowest frequency of visible sunspots in the solar cycle, occurred in December 2019.


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This means that the sun’s activity is currently increasing, with the next solar maximum expected around 2025.

As a result, more of the Sun's electrically charged particles are travelling towards the Earth and getting caught in its magnetic field, thus producing more of the aurora effect.

Krista added: “Over the coming years, as we continue towards the solar maximum, we can expect to see an increase in the frequency of space weather events, with more chances to see the Aurora Borealis over the UK.”