High chance of seeing the Northern Lights from Northumberland tonight

The Northern Lights at Holy Island by Jane Coltman
The Northern Lights at Holy Island by Jane Coltman

Aurora borealis hunters will be hoping for clear conditions tonight as experts predict a high chance of seeing a spectacular light display over Northumberland.

Last month, the Northern Lights were observed from many parts of northern UK, with the displays caused by high-speed solar winds emanating from a coronal hole on the surface of the Sun.

The Northern Lights at Holy Island by Jane Coltman

The Northern Lights at Holy Island by Jane Coltman

The Sun’s one-month rotational cycle means that the same coronal hole has come full circle and is sending another stream our way, according to specialist tour operator The Aurora Zone.

This has prompted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to estimate an 85% to 90% chance of geomagnetic storms today and tomorrow, which means that there is a strong possibility that the Northern Lights will be visible from areas of northern UK tonight.

Alistair McLean, managing director of The Aurora Zone, said: “Appearances of the Northern Lights here in the UK happen so rarely, except in Northern Scotland. This stream of solar wind is from exactly the same source as the one that caused all the activity a month ago so it’s looking promising. If the fog clears, I’ll be heading to a quiet spot on the Northumberland coast this evening. It’s never the same as watching the aurora from above the Arctic Circle but any sighting is good news as far as I’m concerned. I need my fix!”.

Our photographer Jane Coltman caught an amazing display of the Northern Lights from Holy Island in February this year.

The Aurora Zone (www.theaurorazone.com) was the first UK company to offer Northern Lights hunting holidays and has a six-point plan for seeing the Aurora from the UK.

1. Find a place with unobstructed views to the north/north-east

2. Find a place that is far removed from significant light pollution

3. Keep your eyes on the low horizon

4. Do not gaze at your phone as this will spoil your night vision

5. Wrap up warm, take a flask filled with a warm drink and be patient

6. Cross your fingers and hope the heavens are on your side