Photographer captures 'magical' mid-air view of northern lights thanks to flight delay
A photographer captured jaw-dropping images of the northern lights from 30,000ft thanks to a flight delay.
Paul Botten, 50, from Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, had a perfect view of the aurora borealis on board a plane.
His journey back to the UK from Norway last Thursday was delayed, but the resulting night flight allowed him to capture the pictures of a lifetime.
He was able to photograph the aurora from inside the aircraft using his iPhone.
Botten's resulting images show the vivid greens of the phenomenon, which was seen across the UK on Sunday and could appear again on Monday evening.
"I work in the travel industry as a lead guide on various weather atmospheric-related holidays, from chasing tornadoes to sighting aurora borealis," he said.
Read more: Stunning Northern Lights appear in rare display over southern England
Watch: Northern lights seen across the UK
"I was testing the capabilities of the iPhone 13 Max against DSLR cameras and was amazed to see the results, especially when unexpectedly seeing them on a blizzard-related delay out from Tromso.
"We were supposed to take off at 4pm and the delay meant it was darkness when we got through the clouds and the aurora was already very active, even at 6.30pm, with sunset visible way off to the west that you can see in the pictures.
"The captain turned off the lights and people ended up taking pictures for the next 15 minutes on their phones.
"The delay meant an overnight stay in Oslo, as we missed our connecting flight to Heathrow, but most of the plane were happy in a strange way as the free light show was the pay-off.
"It was a magical event above Norway."
The Met Office said there is a chance to see the natural phenomenon in parts of the UK for the second night in a row.
Read more: What causes the northern lights?
The most colourful displays on Sunday evening were seen in Scotland and northern England, where the aurora was comprised of greens and reds.
The phenomenon was also visible in Northern Ireland, Norfolk and south Wales.
What are the northern lights?
The aurora, or northern lights, can be seen near the poles of both the northern and southern hemisphere.
In the north, the display is known as the aurora borealis, while in the south it is called the aurora australis.
What causes the northern lights?
The aurora are sparked by activity on the sun.
According to the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, the lights are caused by solar storms on the surface of the sun giving out clouds of electrically charged particles which can travel millions of miles and collide with the Earth.
Most particles are deflected away but some are captured in the Earth’s magnetic field and accelerate down towards the north and south poles, colliding with atoms and molecules in the Earth’s atmosphere.
The lights are the product of this collision between atoms and molecules from the Earth’s atmosphere and particles from the sun.
The aurora's wavy patterns and "curtains" of light are made by the lines of force in the Earth's magnetic field, the Royal Observatory said.
Why do the aurora have different colours?
The colours are caused by the two main gases in the Earth's atmosphere, nitrogen and oxygen.
Different gases give off different colours when they are heated.
The green in an aurora is characteristic of oxygen, while nitrogen is behind the purple, blue and pink.