Northern Lights are caught in spectacular photos over Cornwall – and the Met Office says they could be visible from the UK again tonight

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  • Reading time:5 min(s) read

  • Photographer Ross Jennings snapped Northern Lights over Cornwall last night
  • Met Office says there’s a chance the stunning display will be out again tonight

Seeing the Northern Lights is something that features on many people’s bucket lists. 

And if you’re lucky, you could tick it off your list tonight. 

A photographer couldn’t believe his luck when he snapped spectacular photos of the aurora from Cornwall last night. 

Ross Jennings, from Camborne in Cornwall, posted the photos on his Facebook page, writing: ‘These Pillars really flared up for about 10 minutes… and I’m pretty sure it’s the strongest I’ve ever seen them.’

If you missed them, there’s good news, as the Met Office says there’s a chance the stunning display will be out again tonight. 

A photographer snapped spectacular photos of the aurora from Cornwall last night

A photographer snapped spectacular photos of the aurora from Cornwall last night

His stunning photos show the magical pink, yellow and blue lights in the night sky
All the while the waves lap the shore below him

Mr Jennings was alerted to the Northern Lights ‘last minute’, and quickly headed out at around midnight to Hells Mouth Coastal Walk to try to snap them

Where to see Northern Lights tonight 

If you missed last night’s display, the good news is that the Met Office says there’s a chance it will be visible for many Britons again tonight.

‘A minor enhancement to the auroral oval is likely in the coming days, most notably on 14-15 Sep,’ the Met Office explained. 

‘Aurora may become visible to the naked eye along the northern horizon from Scotland (where skies are clear) and perhaps briefly Northern Ireland and Northern England. 

‘Activity likely subsiding from 16 Sep.’

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Mr Jennings was alerted to the Northern Lights ‘last minute’, and quickly headed out at around midnight to Hells Mouth Coastal Walk to try to snap them. 

‘After catching an Aurora alert at the last minute, full of snot and freezing cold I headed out to the North Cliffs,’ he posted on his Facebook page. ‘And it didn’t disappoint…’

His stunning photos show the magical pink, yellow and blue lights in the night sky, while the waves lapped the shore below him. 

Several viewers expressed their delight at the images, with one calling the photos ‘absolutely gorgeous’, and another adding his early start was ‘so worth it.’

While auroras are best seen at night, they’re actually caused by the Sun.

Solar storms on the sun’s surface give out huge clouds of electrically charged particles, with some travelling millions of miles to eventually collide with Earth.

While most particles are deflected away, some are captured in the Earth’s magnetic field, accelerating down towards the north and south poles into the atmosphere. 

‘These particles then slam into atoms and molecules in the Earth’s atmosphere and essentially heat them up,’ said Tom Kerss, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory. 

If you missed last night's display, the good news is that the Met Office says there's a chance it will be visible for many Britons again tonight

If you missed last night’s display, the good news is that the Met Office says there’s a chance it will be visible for many Britons again tonight

‘We call this physical process “excitation”, but it’s very much like heating a gas and making it glow.’

Here on Earth, what we are seeing are atoms and molecules in our atmosphere colliding with particles from the Sun. 

The aurora’s characteristic wavy patterns and ‘curtains’ of light are caused by the lines of force in the Earth’s magnetic field.

If you missed last night’s display, the good news is that the Met Office says there’s a chance it will be visible for many Britons again tonight.

‘A minor enhancement to the auroral oval is likely in the coming days, most notably on 14-15 Sep,’ The Met Office explained. 

‘Aurora may become visible to the naked eye along the northern horizon from Scotland (where skies are clear) and perhaps briefly Northern Ireland and Northern England. 

‘Activity likely subsiding from 16 Sep.’

WHAT ARE AURORAS AND WHAT TRIGGERS THE STUNNING NATURAL DISPLAYS?

The Northern and Southern Lights are natural light spectacles triggered in our atmosphere that are also known as the ‘Auroras’.

There are two types of Aurora – Aurora Borealis, which means ‘dawn of the north’, and Aurora Australis, ‘dawn of the south.’

The displays light up when electrically charged particles from the sun enter the Earth’s atmosphere. 

There are two types of Aurora - Aurora Borealis (file photo), which means 'dawn of the north', and Aurora Australis, 'dawn of the south.' The displays light up when electrically charged particles from the sun enter the Earth’s atmosphere

There are two types of Aurora – Aurora Borealis (file photo), which means ‘dawn of the north’, and Aurora Australis, ‘dawn of the south.’ The displays light up when electrically charged particles from the sun enter the Earth’s atmosphere

Usually the particles, sometimes referred to as a solar storm, are deflected by Earth’s magnetic field.

But during stronger storms they enter the atmosphere and collide with gas particles, including hydrogen and helium.

These collisions emit light. Auroral displays appear in many colours although pale green and pink are common.




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