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Watch: The magical Northern Lights display captured across Wales

11 May 2024 5 minute read
Northern Lights as seen in the Ceiriog Valley in north Wales (Credit: Dr Will Leo Hawkes)

The Northern Lights has lit up the night sky with rare sightings across the whole of Wales.

The Northern Lights, also known as aurora borealis, were spotted across the UK, but were particularly vivid in Wales.

The visibility of the Northern Lights was increased on Friday because of an “extreme” geomagnetic storm, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The NOAA said the G5 geomagnetic storm, which is considered extreme and is the strongest level of geomagnetic storm, hit earth on Thursday and could affect communications, GPS and power grids.

The cause of this storm is a “large, complex” sunspot cluster and is 17 times the diameter of earth, with the last storm with a G5 rating hitting earth in October 2003, causing power outages in Sweden.

The NOAA said the lights could be seen as far south as Alabama and southern California in the US.

Met Office spokesman Stephen Dixon said earlier on Friday that there was a good chance for the Northern Lights to be seen.

He said: “Although the shorter nights will limit the visibility window, there’s a good chance to see the aurora, particularly on Friday night and especially in Scotland, Ireland and parts of northern England and Wales.

“There could even be visibility further south if you have the right equipment.

“Those conditions could continue on Saturday night but we still have to work out some details on where exactly that will be.”

Mr Dixon added the combination of clear skies and enhanced activity from the sun reaching Earth would improve the chances of seeing the display.

Aurora displays occur when charged particles collide with gases in the Earth’s atmosphere around the magnetic poles.

In the northern hemisphere, most of this activity takes place within a band known as the aurora oval, covering latitudes between 60 and 75 degrees.

When activity is strong, this expands to cover a greater area – which explains why displays can be occasionally seen as far south as the UK.

The Uk Space Agency posted on X: There’s a heightened possibility of the Northern Lights gracing our skies in the coming nights thanks to several Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) that left the Sun recently.

“Aurora sightings may be possible across Scotland, Northern Ireland, Northern England, and Wales.”

A selection of the best videos and images from the extraordinary light show in Wales…

Meanwhile from a Welshman living in Finland… wow!

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