What time Northern Lights could be visible in sky across UK on Friday, June 7, 2024

The Northern lights may be visible from July 6 to July 8 (Owen Humphreys/PA)
-Credit: (Image: Owen Humphreys/PA)


There's a chance the Northern Lights could be visible in the sky across the UK on Friday, June 7, into Saturday morning. This afternoon Aurorawatch UK issued an amber alert.

That means the impressive sky show is likely to be visible with the naked eye from Scotland, northern England and Northern Ireland. It also means there's a chance of seeing it elsewhere, most likely with the help of photographic equipment. The best time to see them is after 11pm and before 3am.

The aurora is caused by Coronal Mass Ejections (CME) which are large expulsions of plasma and magnetic field from the Sun’s corona. The bands of pink and green light are seen across the UK and in parts of Europe when a geomagnetic storm causes them to be more visible, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Last month people across the UK were stunned to see an impressive view of the Northern Lights across the UK. Usually it is only visible in northern areas.

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.

A G5 geomagnetic storm, which is considered extreme and the strongest level of solar storm, hit Earth on May 10. The cause of this storm was a “large, complex” sunspot cluster, 17 times the diameter of the Earth, according to the NOAA.

The previous storm with a G5 rating hit Earth more than 20 years ago in October 2003 and caused power outages in Sweden. Prof Haswell, head of astronomy at the Open University, explained how different colours within the aurora are formed and said: “Green comes from oxygen which is about 80 to 250 miles above the earth’s surface. The purple, blue and pink comes from nitrogen and when you get a very strong aurora sometimes you see a sort of scarlet red, and that comes from oxygen which is higher in the earth’s atmosphere, at an altitude of about 180 miles.”

Aurora displays occur when charged particles collide with gases in the Earth’s atmosphere around the magnetic poles. In the northern hemisphere, most of this activity takes place within a band known as the aurora oval, covering latitudes between 60 and 75 degrees.

When activity is strong, this expands to cover a greater area – which explains why displays can be occasionally seen as far south as the UK.