The Northern Lights create a dazzling display over Harlow

News / Sat 11th May 2024 at 06:20am

THE Northern Lights made a rare appearance over Harlow, delighting sky watchers all across the town.

Our skywatchers seem to have captured the lights at just before midnight over the town.

Thank you to Lisa, Martyn and Tasha for their photos.

Excited onlookers shared pictures of the lights, also known as aurora borealis.

They became visible after one of the strongest geomagnetic storms for years hit Earth, with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issuing a rare solar storm warning.

Such storms increase people’s chances of seeing the lights.

According to BBC Weather, clear skies – like those on Friday evening – make a sighting possible from most parts of the UK. 

People in Northern Ireland, Scotland and northern parts of England usually have a higher likelihood.

BBC Weather presenter Elizabeth Rizzini said: “It’s fantastic conditions, the skies are pretty clear at the moment. 

“There could be some low cloud that comes into East Anglia and the south west of England and Lincolnshire coast, but generally skies are pretty clear at the moment.”

She added: “Tonight’s the night but it will probably be visible tomorrow as well.”

Met Office spokesman Stephen Dixon said “conditions could continue on Saturday night, but we still have to work out some details on where exactly that will be”.

In the US, the NOAA said the lights might be seen as far south as Alabama and northern California.

What are the Northern Lights?

The Northern Lights – or aurora borealis – appear as bright, swirling curtains of lights in the night sky and range in colour from green to pink and scarlet.

It is caused by charged particles from the sun hitting gases in the Earth’s atmosphere.

The colours occur due to different gases in the Earth’s atmosphere being energised by the charged particles. 

The two most common gases in the Earth’s atmosphere are nitrogen and oxygen. Oxygen atoms glow green – the colour most often seen in the Northern Lights, while nitrogen atoms emit purple, blue and pink.

The most impressive auroras occur when the Sun emits really large clouds of particles called “coronal mass ejections”.

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10 Comments for The Northern Lights create a dazzling display over Harlow:

2024-05-11 09:13:24

Wow! Always wanted to see these, cannot believe I went to bed at 11pm when they were on our doorstep! Darn it. Fab photo's, nice one.

2024-05-11 09:20:19

Me too Trace.Nature is amazing.Thank you.

Matthew Gillman
2024-05-11 11:19:14

Is there anywhere nearby where you can get a decent view of the night sky, without too much light pollution?

peter henegan
2024-05-11 11:34:03

Matthew, I remember watching loads of shooting stars from Rye Hill Road some years back, it has the advantage of height and darkness.

2024-05-11 11:36:00

Dan Swords, you missed a trick there, you could have called it part of Harlow's regeneration!

2024-05-11 15:14:46

Taking the wife next year to see the Northern Lights in Iceland, cancelled the trip this morning, took her to top of the Garden last night and saved a fortune!! Happy Days lol 😆

2024-05-11 15:24:08

it from chemicals they spray in ozone they want us to go and look at it so we breath it in and stay in the matrix

2024-05-11 17:14:41

MAY be visable again TONIGHT(saturday)according to Epping Forest Guardian,around 11pm.They say remote open areas with views of the northern horizon best.They also say to keep away from streetlights.How exciting! eppingforestguardian.co.uk/news/national/24313945.see-northern-lights-uk-tonight/

2024-05-11 23:21:48

Well, sat on Redricks Lane hoping for a Saturday night show and nothing tonight, going home half midnight. Boo!

2024-05-12 05:26:21

Such fab photos.Nice of those people to send them to YH for all to enjoy

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