Monday, December 21, 2015

In Pictures: Last Night's Incredibly Strong Northern Lights

There may not be snow forecast for Christmas Day this year, but for people in northern latitudes, the space weather forecast is much more promising! Last night, skywatchers lucky enough to have a clear view of the northern horizon were treated to an unexpectedly strong display of the Aurora Borealis, and here are some of our favourites..

"Visible to naked eye including pillars! So amazing I even cried!"
Lindsey Taylor saw the northern lights from Saltburn & Staithes in England.
"Live from the Waterford/Tipperary border in the Knockmealdowns #aurora."
credit: Aurora Alert Ireland
Aurora Borealis seen from Warrenpoint, Co. Down
credit: Ryan Simpson 
Karen Munro tweeted "Amazing Aurora in Thurso, northern Scotland
 at 23.30 UTC. Faint corona overhead as well."
"At 51.9 degrees latitude, these must be among the most southerly
aurora photos tonight. Low light pollution helps."

credit: Colm Ryan

Aurora Borealis over Inishowen peninsula, Donegal, Ireland
credit: Discover Inishowen
"#Aurora tonight, probably some of the best be seen in Scotland." The view from Scotland was even better, with @Jailender tweeting
 capturing a great image of the aurora and a moonbow!
"Phenomenal Aurora display over Youghal, East Cork." John Delaney took this beauty from Youghal in Co. Cork.
"For five minutes the aurora went bonkers at York Beach, ME tonight." Rob Wright tweeted this stunning picture from Maine.
"But wait - there's more."
Brian Horisk of Adventure Art shared the view from north-east Fife, Scotland
The view from Kilcock, Co. Kildare
credit: @_Dale__ on Twitter
The aurora visible from Mullaughmore in Co. Sligo.
credit: Gerry O'Donnell

With KP levels reaching a high of  KP 7 on the night of December 20, Astronomy Ireland were quick to send out an email to its subscribers alerting people of the increased solar activity;

"Conditions have continued to be active and the Northern Lights have been seen from Ireland this evening, Sunday Dec. 20! We expect them to be visible for several hours, possibly even until dawn (7am)." 

Didn't get a chance to see the aurora? Don't worry- we're being told to keep our eyes peeled- "It would be a good idea to keep checking the north horizon for a day or two just in case."

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