A spectacular celestial spectacle is expected tonight as an Aurora Borealis storm is forecast for the skies over Ireland, according to Astronomy Ireland.
The astonishing phenomenon, also known as the Northern Lights, was observed by astronomers across Ireland on Wednesday evening with a number of sightings from Northern Ireland to Sligo and the Tipperary / Waterford border.
The BBC’s Meteorological Unit in Northern Ireland tweeted a number of stunning photos taken in the north, including images of a green and purple haze nestled on Rathlin Island in County Antrim.
Astronomy Ireland magazine also published beautiful photos of a starry night in southern Sligo against a green and raspberry background while another astronomer shared her stunning images of what looked like green and purple rain falling on them. Knockmealdown mountains on the Tipperary / Waterford border.
And the good news is that the light show should be visible again tonight, according to David Moore of Astronomy Ireland.
âThere’s a good chance it will be seen tonight,â he told Independent.ie.
The only downside is cloud cover and light pollution which can obscure the display.
But Mr Moore said it only takes a break in the clouds to catch a glimpse of the spectacle caused by solar storms on the sun’s surface emitting electrically charged particles that appear as wavy curtains of light.
âWhen you have a major (solar) storm, all you have to contend with is the clouds,â he said.
âBut don’t be put off by the clouds. Check the sky anyway. People north and south will see it, from Cork to Donegal, whatever, âhe said.
âIt’s a free spectacle of nature.
Astronomy Ireland issued an Aurora Alert on its social media platforms yesterday and today – one of twelve such alerts issued in the past year.
And while most people associate the Northern Lights with Scandinavian countries, he said the phenomenon is not limited to the Far North.
British astronomers also reported spectacular sightings of vivid red, green and pink lights crossing the sky from as far south as Devon to Scotland in the north on Wednesday evening.
And the good news is that the weather may be cooperating tonight.
Met Eireann forecasts a largely dry night this evening across most of the country except for drizzle affecting the west and northwest.
There’s no optimal time to see the lights, so Moore advised astronomers to keep an eye on the sky at all times from dusk to dawn.
âIt can kick in at any time and last around 12 hours,â he said.
And if anyone captures the footage on camera, he urged them to contact Astronomy Ireland magazine where they will be published.