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Northern Lights could be visible over parts of the UK tonight | UK News

The Northern Lights could be visible across northern parts of the UK tonight, the Met Office has said.

The phenomenon, also known as Aurora Borealis, often appears above Iceland and Norway but is only occasionally visible from the UK.

Generally, sightings are limited to Scotland.

According to the Met Office, a “combination of fast solar winds” and the “recent arrival of a Coronal Mass Ejection from the sun” could cause a display on Sunday evening into Monday morning.

The Northern Lights are the result of particles from the sun being carried on solar winds and then interacting with the Earth’s atmosphere after being channelled to the polar regions by the planet’s magnetic field.

According to the Royal Observatory Greenwich, different gases have different effects on the colour of the display.

Green indicates solar particles interacting with oxygen, while purple, blue or pink hues are caused by nitrogen.

Read more:
Skies turn red and green over Scotland
Northern Lights visible above Iceland

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A deep red can sometimes be seen as a result of solar particles interacting with oxygen at very high altitudes.

Only under “severe space weather conditions” can the lights be seen throughout the UK – even then, star-gazers need a clear sky and less light pollution.

‘Highly visible policing presence’ at Wembley for England match against Italy after Brussels shooting | UK News

A “highly visible policing presence” will be in operation at Wembley for England’s match against Italy this evening following the Brussels shooting.

The Metropolitan Police said: “Given the events yesterday in Brussels, those attending the match can be reassured that they will see a highly visible policing presence.

“Officers are there to ensure the event passes off safely and provide reassurance to those attending.”

The decision comes after a suspected gunman killed two people before an international football match in the Belgian capital.

The shooting caused Belgium’s Euro 2024 qualifier against Sweden to be abandoned at half-time.

Fans were also kept in the stadium as armed officers searched for the suspected attacker.

Police shot dead the suspect this morning, named by Belgian media as Abdesalem L – a 45-year-old Tunisian national.

Superintendent Gerry Parker, match commander for tonight’s game, said: “We have been working with our partners, including the FA, in the weeks leading up to this match to ensure those attending the Wembley area enjoy this match.

“Our officers are experienced in dealing with large-scale public order events, and a flexible plan is in place to reduce the likelihood of crime and disorder, and provide a timely response to any emerging incidents.

“Please ensure you arrive in good time for the match and remain vigilant throughout; if you see anything suspicious then flag it an officer or one of the match stewards immediately so the necessary action can be taken.”

Northern Lights could be visible for parts of the UK until Saturday | UK News

Skygazers across the UK have a chance to witness the Northern Lights until Saturday.

The Met Office forecast suggests the phenomenon, also known as the Aurora Borealis, could be visible to the naked eye along the northern horizon from Scotland, where skies are clear.

The Northern Lights may also illuminate the sky in Northern Ireland and northern England.

A minor enhancement to the aurora oval – which determines the range of polar lights – means the dazzling display is visible further south.

It is usually associated with Scandinavian countries in Europe, but can sometimes be seen in the UK.

People reported sightings across the nation on Wednesday – from as far south as Cornwall, as well as in Greater Manchester, Northumberland and the Lake District.

Lancaster University’s AuroraWatch, run by the Space and Planetary Physics group, issued a “red alert” on Wednesday, meaning “it is likely that aurora will be visible by eye and camera from anywhere in the UK”.

The activity is expected to start subsiding from Saturday.

How can you see the phenomenon?

Professor Don Pollacco, of the University of Warwick’s department of physics, said it would be difficult to predict exactly where the Northern Lights could be seen, because conditions change rapidly.

“However, one thing is for sure, and that is that you are unlikely to see them from a brightly lit city environment – you need to go somewhere dark and look towards the northern horizon [look for the North Star].

“So, you would preferably be in the countryside away from street lights. Of course, it also needs to clear.”

Explaining what the lights are, Professor Pollacco added: “The Northern Lights [Aurora Borealis] are caused by the interaction of particles coming from the sun, the solar wind, with the Earth’s atmosphere – channelled to the polar regions by the Earth’s magnetic field.

“It’s actually a bit like iron filings and the field of a bar magnetic.

“The solar wind contains more particles when there are sun spots, as these are regions on the sun’s surface where the magnetic field is interacting with the plasma in the sun, and the particles can be released.

Read more:
‘Aurora chaser’ explains Northern Lights
Rare baby blue spiral resembling galaxy seen in Alaska
Pink Aurora Borealis seen in Canada

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Pink aurora seen over Ottawa

“Once the particles are channelled into the Earth’s atmosphere they interact with molecules and have distinctive colours and patterns such as light emissions that look like curtains or spotlights.

“These shapes over change quickly over timescales of minutes/seconds.”

According to the Royal Observatory Greenwich, different gases determine what colours light up the sky, with nitrogen and oxygen being the primary gases in Earth’s atmosphere.

Green in the aurora is a characteristic of oxygen, while purple, blue or pink hues are caused by nitrogen.

A deep red can sometimes be seen when the aurora is “particularly energetic”, as a result of very high altitude oxygen interacting with solar particles.