The Northern Lights, also known as the Northern Lights, may be one of the most spectacular displays visible in our skies.
And luckily, Scotland could have a light show tonight.
The lights are due to a solar storm heading directly for Earth in a “direct hit,” according to NASA.
The storm contains billions of tons of fast-moving solar particles held together by a magnetic field, creating spectacular light.
No need to book a trip elsewhere to see the show, as forecasters say the lights can be seen across the UK tonight.
Here’s everything you need to know about when to spot the lights, where to go, and what actually causes the Northern Lights…
When will the Northern Lights be seen in Scotland?
Fast solar winds traveled from the Sun on January 29 along with a coronal mass ejection (CME).
This ejection is likely to trigger a geomagnetic storm starting tomorrow, meaning there may be a chance of spotting the Northern Lights over Scotland overnight tonight.
NASA previously predicted that the storm could hit at 6 p.m. this afternoon, February 1, and subsequent forecasts have the solar storm hitting 5 a.m. tomorrow, February 2.
The best time to show off the lights is usually between 10pm and midnight, so it may be worth keeping an eye on the sky later this evening.
However, if there are a lot of clouds filling the sky, it could be quite difficult to see the show.
How to spot the Northern Lights
Although there is no guarantee of sightings, here are some places that can increase your chances of seeing the Northern Lights.
In areas with no or limited light pollution, auroras may be easier to spot.
Heading to the hilltop field might help.
Heading to the highlands, islands, and sometimes even further down the West Coast, you’ll be able to see the Northern Lights, one of nature’s most magical displays.
The best time is between 22:00 and midnight, depending on cloud cover.
You can find more information about the best places to see the lights in our full list here.
What are the Northern Lights and how do they occur?
How spectacular the Northern Lights are has been seen time and time again during a solar storm.
The lights we see in the night sky are actually caused by the activity of the Sun.
Storms on the Sun’s surface create huge waves of electronically charged particles capable of traveling millions of miles, some reaching Earth.
The waves that reach our planet are trapped in the Earth’s magnetic field.
Brilliant lights are often created from this, allowing us to enjoy the wonder of the Northern Lights.
“These [solar storm] The particles then collide with atoms and molecules in the Earth’s atmosphere and basically heat them up,” explains Royal Observatory astronomer Tom Kerss. “We call this physical process ‘excitation,’ but it’s a lot like heating a gas and making it glow.”
The lowest part of an aurora is usually about 80 miles above the Earth’s surface.
However, the top of a screen can extend several thousand kilometers above the Earth.
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