Northern Lights could be visible from the UK on Saturday night, say forecasters

Northern Lights could be visible from the UK on Saturday night, say forecasters

A solar storm on its way to Earth could mean the Northern Lights might be seen from the UK on Saturday night, forecasters have said.

The Met Office said the phenomenon, known as the aurora borealis, may be visible in Scotland.

Skies in Glasgow and Edinburgh are forecast to be cloudy on Saturday night, but there could be breaks long enough to reveal the lights.

The northern lights over St Mary's Lighthouse and Visitor Centre, Whitley Bay, North Tyneside
The Northern Lights over St Mary's Lighthouse and Visitor Centre in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, in February 2014 (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Further north, in the Scottish Highlands, or east, in Dundee and Aberdeen, the sky is likely to be clearer.

The Northern Lights are created by disturbances in Earth's magnetosphere caused by a flow of particles from the Sun, and are usually concentrated around the Earth's magnetic poles.

The southward shift of the lights on Saturday is caused by an ejection of plasma, known as a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) from the Sun, which followed a solar flare on Wednesday.

Bonnie Diamond, meteorologist at the Met Office, said: "A Coronal Mass Ejection has happened and the effects of that are expected to arrive later tomorrow evening.

"This type of active geomagnetic storm means that there is the possibility of the aurora borealis, commonly known as the Northern Lights.

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Northern lights
A solar storm will shift the aurora borealis south over Scotland for one night only.
A solar storm will shift the aurora borealis south over Scotland for one night only.
A solar storm will shift the aurora borealis south over Scotland for one night only.
Helsinki, Finland - January 16, 2018: Aurora borealis, also known as Northern lights shining in the night sky seen from Glass Igloos, Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort West Village, Saariselkä, Lapland, Finland.
TOPSHOT - An aurora borealis light display is pictured in the southern part of Norway late night of February 28, 2019. (Photo by Heiko Junge / NTB Scanpix / AFP) / Norway OUT (Photo credit should read HEIKO JUNGE/AFP/Getty Images)
In this Oct. 25, 2016 photo provided by the U.S. Army Alaska, paratroopers secure an area in view of the aurora borealis, or northern lights, during night live-fire training at Fort Greely, Alaska. The battalion spent much of Exercise Spartan Cerberus in subzero temperatures training in Arctic, airborne and infantry tasks. (Staff Sgt. Daniel Love/U.S. Army Alaska via AP)
An active aurora borealis hovers over downtown Juneau and the Mendenhall glacier on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016, in Juneau, Alaska. (AP Photo/Rashah McChesney)
Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights, over the west coast of Iceland.
Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights, over Kirkjufell, a 463 metre mountain on the west coast of Iceland.
The Northern Lights over the Reyniskirkja Church in Vik, Iceland.
Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, over southern Iceland.
Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, shine over the plane wreck of a US Navy airplane - a Douglas Super DC-3 - on the Black Beach in Solheimasandur, south Iceland.
Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, shine over Gullfoss waterfall in Iceland.
The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis appear in the sky over Bamburgh lighthouse at stag Rock in Northumberland.
The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, shine over the Sycamore Gap at Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland.
Northern lights over lake, Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Aurora above fjords in Norway
Village of Hamnoy at night with aurora
After a heavy snow fall, even the rocks in the creek are covered in snow.
The shoot was taken at midnight. Aurora's all over sky.
Photo Taken In Russia, Novyy Urengoy
aurora borealis looks like phoenix display directly above the head in Iceland
A fantasy landscape with a star filled sky lit by northern lights, a deer and a fawn is standing to the right in the picture. A composition of multiple different images.
Aurora borealis over Iceland's capital city.
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"Whether or not you will see the Northern Lights depends on where you are and what the weather is like. Scotland is where you're most likely to see it.

"There's a couple of showers on the west coast of Scotland on Saturday evening, and with those showers there will be a bit of cloud.

"However, the clearest skies are further east in Aberdeenshire, where there are plenty of clear skies. Further north, you're pretty likely to see something."

The Met Office's Space account tweeted: "CME forecast to arrive late 23rd March following C5 flare from sunspot AR2736. Active-minor geomagnetic storm periods possible with low risk of moderate storms.

"As a result, aurora may be visible in Scotland where cloud breaks. Latest forecast available"

NOAA, an American agency that monitors the atmosphere, said the Northern Lights could be visible as far south as Michigan and Wisconsin in the United States.

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