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Sunday 22 April 2018

Northern counties on 'red alert' for aurora borealis this weekend

Rebecca Lumley

Counties in Northern Ireland have been placed on “red alert”, as an Aurora Borealis has been illuminating the skies over the weekend.

Aurora Watch UK issued the notice and said northern counties may still catch a glimpse of the solar display today if conditions remain clear.

Astronomy Ireland took to Facebook yesterday, warning Irish stargazers: “Big Aurora expected Friday night, arrived early and was blazing over all of Ireland from midnight Thursday night. It should continue until we get to see it again from sunset Friday on.”

They followed by saying that “if the Aurora is as big as predictions, you don’t have to go to Donegal. You should be able to see it from a dark location, preferably northwest of any urban lights.”

The group described the display as a “once in a decade event.”

Those hoping to witness the lights have been advised to take a camera with long exposure, as they can be more clearly discerned through film than the natural eye.

The BBC reported that the Aurora was the result of a solar flare, which erupted from the sun on Wednesday and was the strongest in a decade.

British Geological Survey's (BGS) space weather unit said the flare was also associated with a coronal mass ejection.

The Aurora was visible last night from most of Scotland’s east coast, as well as the north of England, while countries such as Finland and Lapland witnessed the most powerful displays.

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