Image source, BBC WEATHER WATCHERS / KEV B
Image caption, Northern lights seen in the Shetland Islands
In a very rare display, the northern lights were seen as far south as Kent and Cornwall on Sunday night.
Across more northern areas of the UK, the display was one of the best seen in a very long time by BBC Weather Watchers.
An aurora is formed by a solar flare erupting on the Sun, sending charged particles towards Earth which interact with our atmosphere.
More displays are expected in the coming nights.
The most vibrant display was across Scotland and northern England where the aurora was made up of bright greens and deep reds.
There were also sightings in Northern Ireland, south Wales and Norfolk.
Image source, BBC WEATHER WATCHERS / BRASS IN THE BRAES
Image caption, Aurora seen in Highlands, Scotland on Sunday night
Image source, Karl McCarthy
Image caption, The views seen over the Brecon Beacons in south Wales
In the UK, we can often seen the northern lights in Scotland but they are rarely spotted in southern England.
Image source, BBC WEATHER WATCHERS / JAMIE
Image caption, Northern lights which are rarely seen in Kent, southern England
Over the last few days, a strong solar flare on the Sun’s surface was directed toward Earth with charged particles reaching our atmosphere on Sunday night.
The charged particles interact with oxygen and nitrogen which then emits green and red colours over our poles.
If it’s a strong solar flare, the charged particles can travel further away from the poles into middle latitudes such as southern England.
There may be another opportunity to see the northern lights on Monday night where skies are clear.
The Northern lights also thrilled photographers with an impressive show across parts of the East of England on Sunday night.
Some dramatic images were captured on the Norfolk coast.
Image source, BBC WEATHER WATCHER / SHIRLEY YOU CANT BE CIRRUS
Image caption, One BBC weather watcher captured the strong pink and purple hues covering the Norfolk sky
Photographer Gary Pearson, who watched the display from Brancaster Staithe in Norfolk, said: “We had a fantastic showing from the Northern lights last night.
“The aurora was clearly visible to the naked eye, though it was the long exposure taken by the camera that picked up the extremely vivid colours.”
Image source, BBC WEATHER WATCHERS / CAMBUS BOOLER
Image caption, Aurora in Stirling, Scotland
The Sun goes through an 11-year solar cycle measured in terms of how active its magnetic field is. As this magnetic field changes, so does the amount of activity on the Sun’s surface.
The last solar minimum was in 2020, so activity on the Sun has been increasing since then and it is currently the most active since 2014.
Solar maximum is expected in 2025, more frequent displays of the aurora are likely in the coming years.
Image source, BBC WEATHER WATCHERS / LIVVY
Image caption, Aurora in Argyll and Bute, Scotland, on Sunday night