Northern Lights could be visible across Scotland due to solar storm

US Space Weather Prediction Centre says geomagnetic storm may result in power grid fluctuations.

Northern Lights could be visible across Scotland due to solar storm iStock
Aurora sightings are possible across Scotland on October 11 and 12.

Scotland, the north of England and Northern Ireland could catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights on Monday night as a solar storm is expected to reach Earth.

This is thanks to a Coronal Mass Ejection, a massive burst of material from the sun which can cause a phenomenon known as a geomagnetic storm, which interferes with the Earth’s magnetic field.

People living in Shetland, Orkney, Aberdeenshire and parts of Ayrshire and Argyll and Bute have the best chance of spotting the Aurora Borealis.

According to the US Space Weather Prediction Centre, the event could result in power grid fluctuations as well as “orientation irregularities” for spacecraft.

STV Weather presenter Philip Petrie said: “Recently there has been a fairly strong geomagnetic storm directed towards the UK, leading to an enhanced chance of seeing the aurora.

“Tonight, and perhaps tomorrow night, are the best nights to spot it – particularly in the north of the country.

“The disappointing thing is that there is a lot of cloud around over the next couple of days. However there will be a few breaks in the cloud.

“The best places will be Shetland and Orkney, Aberdeenshire and even parts of Ayrshire, Southern Argyll and parts of the central belt where we see the odd break in the cloud but the further south you come your chances drop to around 20 or 30%.

“But on the whole there is a lot of variable amounts of cloud around.We’ll be hoping to get some photos from viewers across the country, and if we do we will share them on the forecast tomorrow, so if anyone takes any snaps then send them to stvweather@stv.tv.”

Aurora may be visible as low as New York, to Wisconsin and Washington state in the US.

The Met Office has said there is a slight chance of moderate class flares here too, although cloud is likely to block the view for some.

“Aurora is possible through 11th and 12th across much of Scotland, although cloud amounts are increasing, meaning sightings are unlikely for most,” the Met Office said.

“There is a slight chance of aurora reaching the far north of England and Northern Ireland tonight, but cloud breaks and therefore sightings are more likely in Northern Ireland.”

NOAA has put the storm at category G2, which the agency defines as moderate in strength.

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