Northern Lights — or aurora borealis — turned the color of the sky to green in some regions in the United Kingdom and Ireland while people were celebrating St. Patrick's Day.
The Northern Lights is quite a spectacle, and this time, people in the Midlands and North of the UK had the chance to see the celestial show. On Tuesday, March 17, the UK Met Office made an announcement about the reach of the Northern Lights in the UK.
"Anyone in the Midlands, and further north, might have a chance of catching sight of the Northern Lights tonight," read the UK Met Office blog.
Skygazers suggest that people can usually clearly see the Northern Lights when the sky is clear and free of pollution. Inishowen, Ireland is supposedly the best place in the British Isles to see the celestial spectacle.
Aurora borealis is the natural display of light in the sky. The aurora borealis is predominantly seen in high altitude Arctic and Antarctic regions. Aurora borealis in the northern hemisphere is called Northern Lights, while its counterpart, aurora australis in the southern hemisphere, is referred to as Southern Lights.
Aurora borealis usually occurs when there is a strong solar flare. On March 15, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center revealed that the sun experienced a strong eruption on its surface that resulted in a solar flare that ranked G4 on a scale of zero to five.
Such solar flares usually cause some disruptions to the Earth's communication systems, but at the same time, it also resulted in strong Northern Lights witnessed over a large area. Scientists suggest that strong Northern Lights visible as south as the Midlands of the UK is quite rare; however, it has already happened at least once this year.
The celestial display was seen during the early morning in many places, such as the Lake District, Midlands, Conwy, Islay, Peak District and Cumbria.
The Northern Lights are not only visible in the UK but also in the U.S. Some residents of South and North Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin and Alaska also reported having seen the Northern Lights.
Photo: Moyan Brenn | Flickr