Bright northern lights lit up the skies over parts of the UK last night.
On Sunday 23 April, the lights lit up the skies and could be seen across Wales and England.
Lancaster University’s Aurora Watch, run by the Space and Planetary Physics Group, has issued a ‘red alert’, meaning there is a very high chance of seeing an aurora.
This is what the sky looks like above St Mary’s Lighthouse in Whitley Bay, on England’s northeast coast.
This phenomenon causes the sky to turn various shades of green and purple. The display may also be visible in tonight’s sky if the weather is clear.
What Causes the Aurora or “Northern Lights”?
According to the Royal Observatory Greenwich, the auroras are caused by activity on the sun’s surface.
Solar storms on the surface of stars can release huge clouds of charged particles that can quickly enter Earth’s atmosphere.
“These particles then hit atoms and molecules in the Earth’s atmosphere and fundamentally heat them up,” said Tom Kex, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory.
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“We call this physical process ‘excitation,’ but it’s very much like heating a gas and making it glow.”
So what we see is atoms and molecules in the atmosphere colliding with particles from the sun.