Northern Lights light up skies above Lothians

Northern Lights tonight from the beach at Gullane. Picture: Ian Foote
Northern Lights tonight from the beach at Gullane. Picture: Ian Foote
1
Have your say

PEOPLE across the Lothians have been treated to a rare and spectacular glimpse of the Northern Lights.

Spectacular red and green lights of the Aurora Borealis, the result of a strong magnetic storm, lit up skies along the east coast with excited aurora-spotters taking to social media to share their photos of the natural phenomenon.

The Northern Lights display at Inverkirkaig, near Lochinver. Picture: HeMedia

The Northern Lights display at Inverkirkaig, near Lochinver. Picture: HeMedia

The stunning natural light show revealed itself to people all across Scotland with people turning their eyes to the heavens in Glasgow, Orkney and Aberdeenshire, while stargazers also reported seeing the lights as far south as Gloucestershire, Essex and Norfolk.

Just before midnight, the lights came into view, Eric McDonald tweeted: “Northern Lights visible now from Musselburgh beach. Should be able to see from East Lothian looking north to Fife.”

In Edinburgh, stargazers climbed to the highest points in the city to view the lights. Ramsay McIver tweeted a stunning picture of the night sky perched high atop the Braid Hills.

He said: “The aurora borealis over Edinburgh from the Braid Hills #chasingtheaurora #northernlights.”

Fellow Capital resident Nick@nicklibertine also took the chance to grab a rare glimpse of the red and green lightshow and tweeted: “As if there was any doubt in my decision to move up here – last night, London was flooded by poo, and Edinburgh had the Northern Lights.”

The Northern Lights are usually visible in only the more northern parts of the UK, but a surge in geomagnetic activity last night led to them appearing much further south than usual.

The display occurs when explosions on the surface of the Sun hurl huge amounts of charged particles into space, according to the British Geological Survey (BGS).

Those thrown towards Earth are captured by its magnetic field and guided towards the geomagnetic polar regions.

Charged particles collide with gas molecules in the atmosphere, and the subsequent energy is given off as light.

Geomagnetic storms follow an 11-year “solar cycle”, and the last “solar maximum” was last year, according to the BGS.