The brightest Northern Lights in a generation illuminate the night sky over the UK

March 7, 2016 | by | 0 Comments

Spectacular displays of the Northern Lights were captured across parts of the UK as stargazers were treated to a dazzling celestial display.

Vibrant shades of green, purple, pink and yellow painted the clear skies as photographers across the country captured the magical moments.

The Aurora Borealis was visible for several hours on Sunday night in Scotland and Northern Ireland but was also spotted as far south as Oxfordshire.

The Scottish Land Girls Memorial at Clochan in Moray (Steven Milne / SWNS Group)

The Scottish Land Girls Memorial at Clochan in Moray (Steven Milne / SWNS Group)

Snapper Steve Milne took a stunning shot in front of the Scottish Land Girls memorial in Moray, Scotland, which was unveiled in 2012 and lit up with the green and purple sky.

The sculpture was created to recognise young women who left their homes to work on farms and feed the nation during World War II.

Steve, who has been a photographer for around a year, said: “It was one of the strongest displays I have really seen to date and I have seen quite a few over the years.

“There was a warning on the internet so I thought I would head to the memorial as I had been there in the day and knew it was pretty there.

“It was just a case of going up there and seeing if it was bright enough and thankfully it was.”

Amazing aurora burst over the hills in Caithness, Scotland (Maciej Winiarczyk / SWNS Group)

Amazing aurora burst over the hills in Caithness, Scotland (Maciej Winiarczyk / SWNS Group)

Photographer Maciej Winiarczyk also captured the breathtaking illuminations in Caithness, Scotland.

The shots reveal a beautiful night sky in the shades of green, pink and purple while the backdrop is littered with stars.

He said: “The display was really good, probably one of the best this year and it was pretty unexpected.

“I took the shots mostly from the top of the cliff and from the lake.

“The lights are quite frequent and I am probably in one of the best spots in the UK to see them but these were amazing.”

(Maciej Winiarczyk / SWNS Group)

(Maciej Winiarczyk / SWNS Group)

Maciej ventured out just before 8pm but had to head home for an hour after it started snowing and he needed to warm himself up.

He battled the cold and traveled 30 miles to snap the shots and he stayed out until around 3am.

The vibrant spectacle is caused by charged solar particles interacting with the Earth’s magnetic field and is usually only visible in the far north of Scotland.

A ‘lucky combination’ of conditions in the lower atmosphere and in space meant the aurora was visible for a number of hours.

A powerful display of the Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis, lights up the night sky over the ruins of Duffus Castle near Duffus, Moray (SWNS Group)

A powerful display of the Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis, lights up the night sky over the ruins of Duffus Castle near Duffus, Moray (SWNS Group)

Photographer Pete Summers was lucky enough to spot the phenomenon just a few miles from his home in Moray, Scotland.

His eye-catching shots were taken at the ruins of Duffus Castle in Moray, Scotland, to the backdrop of a bright green sky.

Pete said: “The lights were absolutely amazing – last night was probably the best display I have ever seen.

“I was in a good spot where I have seen them before but last night was definitely the best.

“They usually don’t live up to what you think they are going to look like but last night it was absolutely spectacular.”

A powerful display of the Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis, lights up the night sky over Covesea Lighthouse near Lossiemouth, Moray (SWNS Group)

A powerful display of the Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis, lights up the night sky over Covesea Lighthouse near Lossiemouth, Moray (SWNS Group)

Pete also captured the stunning image of Covesea Lighthouse as it was beautifully lit up.

Astronomy photographer Matt Robinson also captured the display in Kielder Water, Northumberland.

He shot the starry sky illuminated with the bright green and purple lights.

Met Office space weather adviser Amanda Townsend said: “Once in a while the solar winds are enhanced to levels stronger than normal, with particles at higher speeds, and on this occasion it has connected really well with the Earth’s magnetic field.”

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