Stunning glow of the Northern Lights captured thousands of miles from the Arctic in the south of England

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These stunning pictures show the breathtaking glow of the Northern Lights captured not in the Arctic — but in the South West of England.

Photographer William Henderson was taking pictures of the stars when the spectacular glow of the Aurora Borealis spread across the sky in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire.

He posted the picture on Facebook asking pals to shed light on the amazing red and green glow – and was astonished to hear it was the Northern Lights.

Dazzling Northern Lights seen across Gloucestershire in the south west of England
Dazzling Northern Lights seen across Gloucestershire in the south west of England

The beautiful light display is caused when solar winds – a stream of charged particles escaping the Sun – are trapped in the Earth’s magnetic field.

These particles smash into the molecules in the atmosphere, releasing energy which can be seen as amazing lights – usually only seen in the far north and south.

But Thursday night saw stronger solar winds revealing the lights much further south than usual.

A stunning shot of the lights piercing through the night sky
A stunning shot of the lights piercing through the night sky

Photographer William, who spotted them from Pan Tod Beacon on Ruardean Hill, said: “Well tonight turned into something truly amazing.

 “What was meant to be a simple night time shoot of the stars turned into something which I can only describe as AWESOME!

“This shot, taken at Pan Tod Beacon in Ruardean Hill shows the night time sky with a weird green glow. Is it a UFO? Is it the Northern Lights?

“Whatever it is, it was unbelievable!”

The Northern Lights fill the skly with an eerie green above Ayr, Scotland
The Northern Lights fill the sky with an eerie green above Ayr, Scotland

 

The beautiful light display is caused when solar winds - a stream of charged particles escaping the Sun - are trapped in the Earth's magnetic field
The beautiful light display is caused when solar winds – a stream of charged particles escaping the Sun – are trapped in the Earth’s magnetic field

Mark Thompson, presenter of Stargazing Live, said it was very unusual to see the lights in southern England.

He said: “Aurora displays usually happen around the North and South poles, so to see them this far south is pretty rare.”

He was astonished to see the display from his home in Norfolk – 70 miles further north than William’s picture.

He added: “What happens is there is stuff called the solar wind, which is electronically charged particles, and they take two or three days to get here and when they do get here they cause the gas atoms in the sky to glow. It is as simple as that.

“I haven’t seen one like that in Norfolk for about 20 years.”

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