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Spectacular Northern Lights illuminate sky over UK

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media captionVideo on social media showed the Northern Lights seen from parts of the UK

There have been spectacular displays of the Aurora Borealis - better known as the Northern Lights - across parts of the UK overnight.

The colourful phenomenon was visible in Scotland and Northern Ireland, but was also spotted as far south as Anglesey and Oxfordshire.

Aurora Borealis occurs when electrically-charged particles from the Sun enter the Earth's atmosphere.

Many people took to social media to share photographs of the dramatic show.

  • What are the Northern Lights?
  • How can I see the Northern Lights in the UK?

Forecasters had predicted a solar storm and good conditions for Aurora Borealis, and sightings of green, pink, purple, red and yellow lights were reported for several hours from about 20:00 GMT.

Gavin Chambers, an RSPB warden, tweeted pictures of vivid green in the sky over Lake Vyrnwy in Powys, Wales, saying: "Well worth getting back out of bed for!!"

Donna Butcher, from Staveley, Cumbria, tweeted to say she had been watching an "amazing display" with "shafts of light streaming directly towards Polaris".

image copyrightThomas Matthews
image captionA "lucky combination" of conditions produced a dramatic light show - as snapped here over Patterdale in Cumbria
image copyrightBrian Doyle
image captionBrian Doyle captured the kaleidoscope of colours over Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire
image copyrightMary Spicer
image captionThe sky turned a vivid shade of purple as far south as Oxfordshire, as snapped by Mary Spicer
image copyrightDamian Money
image captionDamian Money took this shot of the northern lights over Saltburn Pier in North Yorkshire

Met Office space weather adviser Amanda Townsend said a "lucky combination" of conditions had made for a fantastic display.

"Once in a while the solar winds are enhanced to levels stronger than normal, with particles at higher speeds, and on this occasion it has connected really well with the Earth's magnetic field," she said.

image copyrightPhil Pounder
image captionDunstanburgh Castle near Alnwick in Northumberland made a dramatic setting for Phil Pounder's shot of pink shades of Aurora Borealis
image copyrightSkye Cowshed
image captionThe sky over Uig in the Isle of Skye was illuminated a vivid green, as captured by The Cowshed bunkhouse
image copyrightRonan McLaughlin
image captionIn the Republic of Ireland, fiery reds and oranges were seen over Ballynamona Beach in County Cork, as photographed by Ronan McLaughlin
image copyrightNOAA
image captionThe US government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which tracks space weather, predicted strong chances of visible aurora over the UK

The strongest part of the geomagnetic storm has now passed, meaning glimpses of the Aurora Borealis are likely to be available only to those in northern England and Scotland on Monday night.

You can email your pictures and video to yourpics@bbc.co.uk, and find out more about the Northern Lights here.

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