Solar Storm 2018: How to see Northern Lights over UK | Science | News

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The storm will hit the northern hemisphere and trigger Aurora Borealis, better known as the Northern Lights, being visible to the naked eye in as far south as parts of Northern England and Scotland, as well as North Michigan and Maine in the United States. 

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), who spotted the solar storm using two NASA satellites, said: “A minor geomagnetic storm watch is now in effect for 14 and 15 March, 2018. Aurora may be visible at high latitudes.”

How to see the Northern lights

The Northern Lights is a natural display in the earth’s sky, which are predominantly normally seen in high-latitude regions such as around the Arctic and Antarctic.

Scotland remains the best place to see the Northern Lights in the UK, given its closer proximity to the North Pole, and can be most visible in the Scottish Highlands and Scottish Isles. 

They often take the form of curtains of light in which the folds rapidly move and vary in brightness and rest on an arc of light, with the red and green colours seen in the brightest displays.

The lowest part of the phenomenon is at a height of around 100km above the Earth’s surface while the top of the display can often extend to several thousand kilometres. 

Stargazers do not need telescopes to see the Aurora Borealis with the incredible colours visible to the naked eye. 

How are the Northern Lights formed?

Intense displays are generated following massive explosions on the sun, which release clouds of hot plasma that contain billions of tons of material travelling around two million miles per hour into the solar wind. 

When the clouds react with the Earth, they can interact with the Earth’s magnetic field and cause geomagnetic storms.

But the consequences of the storm could be far more serious than the appearance of the Northern Lights. 

The incoming solar storm has seen an enormous explosion on the surface of the Sun that has blasted an array of solar particles towards the Earth.

Scientists have warned the storm could wipe out satellites, GPS navigation systems and mobile phone signals and in more serious cases, a surge of particles could lead to higher than normal electricity in power lines, resulting in electrical transformers and power stations blowing out.

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