Swaths of Britain, Germany treated to northern lights

March 7, 2016
Swaths of Britain, Germany treated to northern lights
In this long-time exposed March 6, 2016 photo polar lights illuminate the night sky near Lietzen, eastern Germany. The Northern Lights (Aurora borealis) are produced in the earth's atmosphere by a giant cloud of electrically-charged parts of a solar storm. The color effect has been increased with a 10-second exposure. The polar light could be seen in many parts of Germany last night. (Patrick Pleul/dpa via AP)

Parts of Britain and Germany have been treated to a display of the northern lights, a colorful phenomenon that is usually only seen further north.

The aurora borealis painted skies green, purple and blue late Sunday and early Monday as far south as the southern English county of Oxfordshire, as well as in some northeastern regions of Germany.

An aurora appears when a magnetic slams into the Earth's magnetic field, exciting electrons of oxygen and nitrogen.

Amanda Townsend, a space weather adviser for Britain's Met Office, said that "once in a while the solar winds are enhanced to levels stronger than normal, with particles at higher speeds." She added that "on this occasion it has connected really well with the Earth's ."

Swaths of Britain, Germany treated to northern lights
The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, shine over the Sycamore Gap at Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland, northeast England early Monday March 7, 2016. (Owen Humphreys/PA via AP)

Swaths of Britain, Germany treated to northern lights
The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, shine over St Marys Lighthouse near Whitley Bay in Northumberland, northeast England early Monday March 7, 2016. (Owen Humphreys/PA via AP)

Explore further: What's it like to see auroras on other planets?

Related Stories

What's it like to see auroras on other planets?

November 10, 2015

Witnessing an aurora first-hand is a truly awe-inspiring experience. The natural beauty of the northern or southern lights captures the public imagination unlike any other aspect of space weather. But auroras aren't unique ...

The science behind northern lights

October 2, 2012

(Phys.org)—Northern night skies have recently been alive with light. Those shimmering curtains get their start about 93 million miles away, on the sun.

What causes the northern lights?

January 16, 2015

If you live in the high latitudes, like Alaska, or New Zealand, you've probably had a chance to see an aurora. Here in Canada, we call them the Northern Lights or the Aurora Borealis, but the lucky folks in the far southern ...

Integral X-rays Earth's aurora

January 26, 2016

Normally busy with observing high-energy black holes, supernovas and neutron stars, ESA's Integral space observatory recently had the chance to look back at our own planet's aurora.

Dazzled by the bright Southern Lights

March 20, 2015

The past week saw a fantastic treat for aurora watchers. Generally it is the southern part of the country, Tasmania in particular, that sees the most impressive displays. But this aurora has been so intense that it was even ...

How the sun caused an aurora this week

August 22, 2014

On the evening of Aug. 20, 2014, the International Space Station was flying past North America when it flew over the dazzling, green blue lights of an aurora. On board, astronaut Reid Wiseman captured this image of the aurora, ...

Recommended for you

Dark matter may be smoother than expected

December 7, 2016

Analysis of a giant new galaxy survey, made with ESO's VLT Survey Telescope in Chile, suggests that dark matter may be less dense and more smoothly distributed throughout space than previously thought. An international team ...

Cassini transmits first images from new orbit

December 7, 2016

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has sent to Earth its first views of Saturn's atmosphere since beginning the latest phase of its mission. The new images show scenes from high above Saturn's northern hemisphere, including the planet's ...

Saturn's bulging core implies moons younger than thought

December 7, 2016

Freshly harvested data from NASA's Cassini mission reveals that Saturn's bulging core and twisting gravitational forces offer clues to the ages of the planet's moons. Astronomers now believe that the ringed planet's moons ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.