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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Spellbinding display as Northern Lights spotted over Ireland

David Kearns

Published 08/10/2015 | 10:22

These pictures were taken from Fort Dunree, in Inishowen, County Donegal Credit: Adam Rory Porter
These pictures were taken from Fort Dunree, in Inishowen, County Donegal Credit: Adam Rory Porter
These pictures were taken from Fort Dunree, in Inishowen, County Donegal Credit: Adam Rory Porter
These pictures were taken from Fort Dunree, in Inishowen, County Donegal Credit: Adam Rory Porter
These pictures were taken from Fort Dunree, in Inishowen, County Donegal Credit: Adam Rory Porter
These pictures were taken from Fort Dunree, in Inishowen, County Donegal Credit: Adam Rory Porter
These pictures were taken from Fort Dunree, in Inishowen, County Donegal Credit: Adam Rory Porter
These pictures were taken from Fort Dunree, in Inishowen, County Donegal Credit: Adam Rory Porter
These pictures were taken from Fort Dunree, in Inishowen, County Donegal Credit: Adam Rory Porter
These pictures were taken from Fort Dunree, in Inishowen, County Donegal Credit: Adam Rory Porter
These pictures were taken from Fort Dunree, in Inishowen, County Donegal Credit: Adam Rory Porter
These pictures were taken from Fort Dunree, in Inishowen, County Donegal Credit: Adam Rory Porter
These pictures were taken from Fort Dunree, in Inishowen, County Donegal Credit: Adam Rory Porter
These pictures were taken from Fort Dunree, in Inishowen, County Donegal Credit: Adam Rory Porter
These pictures were taken from Fort Dunree, in Inishowen, County Donegal Credit: Adam Rory Porter

Irish skygazers were given a rare treat as the Northern Lights appeared across parts of the country last night.

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The phenomenon, which appears as a result of increased solar activity, meant that Donegal got a glimpse of the celestial light show usually reserved for Nordic countries.

The natural wonder, also called the Aurora Borealis, caused quite the stir overnight, with many users on social media in Ireland and the UK posting stunning photographs.

"I had to get my little ones home as they were so tired but I was so happy I got to share this beautiful sight with my family," said Adam Rory Porter from the Buncrana Camera Club in Inishowen, County Donegal.

"We could see greens, whites , a hint of red and lots of shooting stars with out naked eyes. The sky was dancing!"

The Northern Lights were visible from parts of Ireland last night because of combined effect of clear skies and a "coronal hole" near the Sun's equator, which had aligned with Earth and was sending high-speed solar winds to buffet the planet.

The strength of this disturbance directly relates to how far south the aurora is visible.

A Met Office spokesman said: "We are now in a period, lasting a few weeks, where these two factors are working together to increase the chances of geomagnetic disturbances, which in turn bring with them the aurora."

The Northern Lights over Donegal Credit: Adam Rory Porter
The Northern Lights over Donegal Credit: Adam Rory Porter

“The season of the year has an influence. The science behind this is not fully understood, but the two equinoctial periods in spring and autumn tend to produce an increase in aurora compared with winter and summer."

How long the Northern Lights remain in the airs over Ireland is unknown as cloud coverage and wind direction will seriously impact on visibility, said Met Éireann.

The Northern Lights over Donegal Credit: Adam Rory Porter
The Northern Lights over Donegal Credit: Adam Rory Porter

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