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Most powerful solar storm in 20 years expected with Northern Lights visible – latest news

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Published Time: 11.05.2024 - 01:40:15 Modified Time: 11.05.2024 - 01:40:15

KATHS_LIFE/X Chosen by us to get you up to speed at a glanceThe Northern Lights could be visible across the whole of the UK overnight as the most powerful solar storm in almost 20 years approaches

: KATHS_LIFE/X

Chosen by us to get you up to speed at a glance

The Northern Lights could be visible across the whole of the UK overnight as the most powerful solar storm in almost 20 years approaches. 

Space weather experts are expecting the buffeting wind to collide with our planet’s magnetic field at around 2am BST on Saturday morning, and this could trigger strong aurora at more southerly latitudes than normal.

The scale of the geomagnetic storm heading to Earth is the largest in two decades and the effects will likely last several days. 

The Northern Lights will likely be visible until dawn on Saturday, but may appear (in places with clear skies and not thunderstorms) on Saturday night too.

The Met Office’s space weather operations centre said that the clear spells overnight could lead to increased visibility for people in the UK and there is a chance they could be seen in the south of England.

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Lots of people are already posting pictures on social media from tonight’s storm, with some capturing some corking images of the Northern Lights over the UK.

I've paid hundreds of pounds to see the #aurora in Scandinavia and now I can see them outside my bedroom window! And probably the best & strongest display I've ever seen! ???????? #NorthernLights pic.twitter/vJ4YJTO4Cg

This is insane from Portsmouth UK!! #solarstorm #NorthernLights #borealis pic.twitter/oUkp2mCRTy

The scale of the geomagnetic storm heading to Earth is the largest in two decades and the effects will likely last several days. 

The Northern lights will likely be visible until dawn on Saturday, but may appear (in places with clear skies and not thunderstorms) on Saturday night too.

CME travel and arrival is hard to predict, especially with several individual emissions from the Sun. 

Dr Ed Bloomer, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, told The Telegraph that we could have some Northern Lights into next week.

“It may be that the maximum auroral activity is actually present on Monday and Thursday of next week,” he said. 

A range of solar eruptions have sent charged particles directly towards Earth over the last few days, and due to the slipstream they are all heading towards Earth together. 

The particles are travelling at around 900km/s and are expected to hit Earth at around 2 to 3 am. 

Prof Mathew Owens, the professor of Space Physics at the University of Reading, said it could be as early as around 12:40am. 

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