The Northern Lights are set to be visible in the UK again over the coming weeks, space forecasters have said.

Last weekend, May 11, much of the UK was treated to a surprise display of the pink and green Aurora Borealis after an extreme geomagnetic storm caused them to be more visible, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The sunstorm followed a period of flares and mass ejections of coronal plasma that threatened to disrupt power and communications on Earth and in orbit.

Now, the Met Office space weather expert Krista Hammond has shared that the Northern Lights could return to UK skies in a matter of days.

South Wales Argus: The Met Office has shared an update.The Met Office has shared an update. (Image: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/PA Images)

When will the Northern Lights next be visible in the UK?

Hammond shared that the sunspot region will be rotated back towards Earth in 10 to 12 days, paving the way for further geomagnetic storms and displays of the Northern Lights.

Sharing: “The sunspot region will be coming back round onto the Earth-facing side of the sun.”

The space weather expert added: “We’re currently at solar maximum and we’re seeing more sunspots.

“If we see more sunspots, we see this increased frequency in space weather and therefore the aurora.”

However, the Met Office has downplayed the chances of a full repeat of last weekend’s display, but said more solar activity would mean a good chance of sightings “in the coming weeks, months and years”.

“It was such a unique set of circumstances that happened last weekend.

“The chances of the same sunspots doing the same thing again – It’s probably quite slim.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if it comes around and there’s some activity on it, but it won’t be I doubt, a repeat performance.”

Where displays can be seen in the UK is dictated by the “strength of geomagnetic storming”, she said.

There may even be some smaller mass ejections on their way to Earth in the coming days with the potential to create more beautiful displays, Ms Hammond said.


Why have Northern Lights sightings become more frequent in recent years?


“There are a couple of mass ejections on their way to Earth.

“They’re a lot less powerful than what we saw last weekend, but they could bring aurora displays across predominantly northern parts of the UK, such as Scotland, Northern Ireland, and north of England.

“Just because we’re not seeing aurora across the whole of the UK, it doesn’t mean that we’re not going to see it in some areas,” she said.