Skygazers treated to Northern Lights

The northern lights as they are commonly known, over Derwent water near Keswick in the Lake District. Picture : Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
The northern lights as they are commonly known, over Derwent water near Keswick in the Lake District. Picture : Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Skygazers in northern England have been been treated to another spectacular display of the Northern Lights.

Increased solar activity meant that people had the chance of catching the colourful phenomenon in the early hours of Wednesday, the Met Office said.

The northern lights. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.

The northern lights. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.

The celestial display of the aurora borealis is caused by eruptions on the surface of the Sun and recent activity has been unexpectedly strong.

The display came after large explosions on the Sun threw huge amounts of magnetically charged particles out into space.

This is called a coronal mass ejection (CME) and earlier this week it triggered a severe geomagnetic storm, prompting forecasters to predict possible sightings.

A CME left the Sun on Sunday and arrived at Earth in the early hours of Wednesday.

The northern lights. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.

The northern lights. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.

Met Office forecaster Craig Snell said: “It was the biggest solar flare that has come to earth in the last 19 to 20 years. There were reds and greens which lit up the sky.”

The best sightings were in the darkness of rural areas away from the pollution in the towns and cities.

The northern lights.  Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

The northern lights. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire