The Northern Lights will be visible across the UK tonight thanks to a new solar flare, experts have predicted.
Wednesday night’s aurora borealis show was visible across much of the south of England due to a phenomenon called coronal mass ejection, caused by huge globs of gas and magnetic field being fired out by the sun.
The flares collide with earth and cause a massive geomagnetic storm.
It is now thought more flares are on their way with light shows set to continue into tonight.
The Met Office ‘s Krista Hammond said: “As was predicted by the Met Office Space Weather Operations Centre, a coronal mass ejection impacted with the Earth yesterday.
“The resulting strong geomagnetic storm meant the Northern Lights were visible across large areas of the UK overnight last night.
“We’ve had reports that the aurora could even be seen in some central areas of the UK, which is possible when a storm of this magnitude impacts the Earth.
“This means there is the potential for further sightings of the Northern Lights overnight, although there will be spells of patchy cloud over Scotland which could limit visibility in places.”
It is thought the coronal mass ejection left the sun on Tuesday morning and reached earth by the following evening.
Where can I see the Northern Lights tonight?
Unlike previous opportunities to see the Northern Lights, this week’s displays have been visible further south, with people in Devon thought to have a chance of spotting them tonight.
As ever though, the best opportunities will be further north, with the Lake District, Scotland, Midlands, Norfolk and North Wales likely to be the safest bets.
It is understood that more space weather events are expected over the next four years, into around 2025.
Ms Hammon said: “This increase in activity is expected as part of this cycle, and we can expect an increase in the number of space weather events as we move towards the next solar maximum.”
Tips for seeing the lights
You need a clear night with as little cloud cover as possible and make sure you get as far away from light pollution as possible.
Once you’ve found your spot, look towards the northern horizon and remember that the magnetic activity can have an impact on GPS sources.
The issues huge solar flares could potentially cause havoc due to their strong magnetic field. Met office forecasters have said it is possible that: “Intermittent GNSS(GPS) satellite navigation and low-frequency radio navigation problems may occur, HF radio may be intermittent.
The storm is regarded as ‘cannibal’ because it moved so fast it caught up other solar flares and absorbed them.