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Northern Lights set to be visible in parts of Scotland

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Parts of Scotland will be treated to a display of the Northern Lights on Thursday night.

The spectacular sight comes during a period of heightened activity on the sun, whereby a coronal hole has emerged this week and hurtled superfast solar winds towards Earth.

When these winds collide with our planet’s charged atmosphere during what are known as solar storms, that’s what produces the auroras usually reserved for regions closer to the Arctic.

Last month, a particularly powerful solar storm helped sky gazers as far south as Kent and Cornwall get a show.

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February: Northern Lights seen over England

Thursday night’s treat won’t be so widespread, but the Met Office has forecast sightings in Scotland.

They could also stretch into Friday night.

Krista Hammond, from the Met Office Space Weather Operations Centre, said: “Minor solar storms are possible on Thursday and Friday night, which means aurora sightings would be possible in northern Scotland under clear skies.

“As this is a fairly minor solar storm, the auroras aren’t expected to be visible much further south on this occasion.”

But don’t worry if you miss out, as experts have said we are in a period of “solar maximum” – making auroras a far more likely proposition.

These happen every 11 years or so.

Read more:
The sun is ‘waking up’ – here’s why and what you need to know
Astronomers discover ultramassive black hole around 33 billion times the mass of the sun

It’s a sign of a more active sun, associated with great numbers of coronal holes and more significant phenomena like coronal mass ejections (CMEs).

Daniel Verscharen, associate professor of space and climate physics at University College London, told Sky News it was like the sun is “waking up”.

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