Northern Ireland

Northern Lights shine across Northern Ireland

The Aurora Borealis - better known as the Northern Lights - has been giving rare and spectacular displays over parts of the UK, from the north of Scotland to as far south as Essex and Gloucestershire.

BBC News website readers photographed the best displays across Northern Ireland.

Image copyright PAcemaker press

The aurora, also known as the Northern Lights, was observed at different points with some spectacular photos being captured. Photographic agency Pacemaker took this shot of the display over Portstewart harbour.

Image copyright Desmond Loughery

The natural light display appears particularly in high latitude regions - usually in places closer to the north and south magnetic poles than Northern Ireland. Desmond Loughrey took this shot of the lights over Limavady, County Londonderry.

Image copyright Deirdre Gregg

The light is caused by the collision of energetic particles streaming out of the sun and colliding with atoms high up in our atmosphere. Photographer Deirdre Gregg took this shot of the display over Dunluce Castle in County Antrim.

Image copyright Martina Gardiner

Martina Gardiner was also at Dunluce Castle on the Antrim coast and captured this colourful image.

Image copyright ken cox

Ken Cox was also out chasing the display at Dunluce, photographing the eerie skies over the Atlantic Ocean.

Image copyright Paul Martin

These ''geomagnetic storms'' may extend towards the Earth's surface and when that happens we see the diffuse glow of the aurora. The lights give photographers like Paul Martin the opportunity to capture the colourful skies over Beaghmore, County Tyrone.

Image copyright Martin mckenna

Photographer and amateur astronomer Martin McKenna, from Maghera, who often goes searching for the aurora, captured this stunning image of the display also over the Beaghmore stone circles in Cookstown, County Tyrone.

Image copyright Bernie mcallister

In Carnlough, County Antrim, photographer Bernie McAllister captured a shooting star in the sky with the Northern Lights over the harbour village.

Image copyright Jim Crawford

Jim Crawford caught the lights shining over Magilligan, County Londonderry.

Image copyright justin maclochlainn

Finally, the MacLochlainn family from Donegal took this family portrait of the lights in the north west.

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Media captionWeather presenter Barra Best explains whether we will see the Northern Lights again on Friday

If you have pictures of the Northern Lights, please send them to nipics@bbc.co.uk - See bbc.co.uk/terms for full details.