UK put on Northern Lights alert AGAIN with exact date it'll be visible announced

The Northern Lights could be visible in the UK again in a matter of weeks. As the sun reaches the most active period in its cycle, the UK could be in for more displays of the Northern Lights in the coming weeks, according to experts.

"We had a quite enormous sunspot, about 15 times the size of the Earth, on the Earth-facing side of the sun," said Krista Hammond, a space weather expert at the Met Office. "It was releasing a lot of solar flares and coronal mass ejections which are enormous eruptions of charged particles."

"The last time we saw a geomagnetic storm of this magnitude was back in 2003," said Ms Hammond. "The sunspot region, which gave all the solar flares and the coronal mass ejections, is now rotated round to the other side of the sun which isn't facing the Earth," Ms Hammond said.

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The sun takes about 27 days to spin on its axis, which could mean we see another display from the same area of the sun at the beginning of June. Ms Hammond explained: "But in a couple of weeks' time, that area will start to rotate back around to face the Earth again."

Sky News meteorologist Kirsty McCabe, though, has tempered expectations and says multiple factors must align for us to catch a glimpse again. "The timing is crucial. First up, you need an active sun firing out coronal mass ejections," Kirsty said.

"Secondly, these bursts of solar eruptions need to be aimed at the Earth. Then if the solar activity is strong enough, it will cause a geomagnetic storm when it collides with our magnetic field. The higher the level of geomagnetic activity, the greater chance of seeing the lights right across the UK, so ideally we want a G4 or G5 geomagnetic storm.

"Then it comes down to timing, we need the greatest activity to occur during our nighttime." 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 sun’s activity is currently increasing, with the next solar maximum expected around 2025. It means 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.

Kirsty said: "And finally, the weather plays a big role too, as clear skies are pretty important to see the aurora."