The northern lights over the Trossachs in Scotland - northern lights photos on canvas
On Sunday night, the skies over Britain and Ireland were transformed into a stunning display of green, purple, and deep red as the auroras, typically only visible in remote latitudes, were seen as far south as Kent and Cornwall.
The northern lights are created when charged particles from the sun collide with the Earth's magnetic field. Although they are usually only visible at the poles, if the geomagnetic storm is particularly strong, the particles can travel farther south.
While it's common to spot the northern lights in Scotland and parts of Northern England, seeing them in southern parts of England is much rarer. However, on Sunday night, the display was one of the best in a very long time, according to the BBC's weather watchers, a crowdsourced weather club.
Many people across the country were able to witness the colorful glow of the auroras from their homes, something that usually requires a long journey and overnight camping in ice-covered regions of Greenland, Iceland, or Scandinavia.
Images shared online showcased a bright green glow seemingly emanating from the grassy hilltops of Scotland, pink hues filling the sky behind Stonehenge in England, and above the jagged cliffs on the coast of Ireland. The auroras were visible in Sussex and Wales, above a cemetery, from bedroom windows, backyards, a university, and even planes.
The European Space Agency reported that on Sunday night, material from the sun collided with Earth just as a high-speed solar wind stream whipped through the space around our planet.
Auroras have also been seen in recent years in some parts of the United States, with some northern lights visible as far south as Alabama in 2011 and the Upper Midwest in 2017. On Sunday night, the auroras were also visible in Canada and the Netherlands.
The Meteorological Office, Britain's national weather service, has stated that the auroras may be visible again on Monday night, as solar activity remained high. However, a clear night, far from urban light pollution, is also necessary to see the lights. The chances of spotting them increase during peaks of the solar cycle, which we are now approaching.
The sun has an 11-year-long sunspot cycle, during which the level of ferocity in its magnetic fields increases, and the sun ejects larger pieces of its atmosphere. We are currently in the more active half of the cycle, with the next solar maximum predicted for 2025.
If you're interested in the beauty of the auroras, some of the best images have been selected to show how they look on photo canvas, allowing you to turn your favorite photos into canvas prints.
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Northern lights 2018