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The Northern Lights Could Be Visible In The UK Tonight

Dominic Smithers


The Northern Lights Could Be Visible In The UK Tonight

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Stargazers in the UK could be in luck, with meteorologists predicting that the Northern Lights might be visible tonight (11 October).

The Met Office says that while it's not for definite, the best chances of seeing the colourful spectacle are in Scotland, northern parts of England and Northern Ireland.

According to reports, this is all down to a solar flare, or more technically a coronal mass ejection (CME), which is heading towards Earth and bringing the Aurora to lower altitudes, making it potentially more visible.

However, despite the excitement surrounding it, the Met Office has been careful not to build up people's expectations too high, with cloud cover potentially affecting visibility.

A spokesperson for the Met Office said: "Aurora is possible through [the] 11th across much of Scotland, although cloud amounts are increasing, meaning sightings are unlikely.

"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."

ITV weatherman Alex Beresford also took to Twitter to remind his followers about the possibility of getting a look at the phenomenon with their very own eyes.

"Lots of solar activity and a release of plasma from the sun is set to collide with earth's atmosphere amounting in this beautiful light display," he wrote.

But again, he tempered excitement, adding: "Spoiler - could be cloudy but fingers crossed."

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

According to AuroraWatch UK, which is run by scientists at Lancaster University, the aurora borealis is expected to be most visible tonight between 9pm and 11pm.

But it's not all good news.

The Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), which is part of the United States' National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA, also issued a geomagnetic storm warning for today and tomorrow (12 October).

These are major disturbances of the Earth's magnetosphere, which are the result of heightened activity caused by solar winds.

As well as bringing the Northern Lights into focus, these storms also have the potential to affect global communications, such as satellites.

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Experts have also warned of the impact it could have on our internet connections, with some claiming it could see us offline for months.

Information presented at the SIGCOMM 2021 data communication conference warned the world is not ready for such an event and could be catastrophic to modern life.

Sangeetha Abdu Jyothi, an assistant professor at the University of California, explained in her paper that an 'internet apocalypse' could last for a long time.

She told WIRED: "What really got me thinking about this is that with the pandemic we saw how unprepared the world was.

"There was no protocol to deal with it effectively, and it's the same with internet resilience. Our infrastructure is not prepared for a large-scale solar event."

Topics: Met Office, Science, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland

Dominic Smithers
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