Recent Active Sun Prompts Stunning Auroras Over England

Article written: 6 Aug , 2011
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015

On the evening of the 5th of August 2011 the Aurora Borealis, Northern Lights were seen as far South as Southern England! At approximately 18:00 Universal Time (19:00 BST) the Earth’s magnetosphere was hit by a coronal mass ejection from the sun, triggering a powerful geomagnetic storm and Aurora.

This storm measured 8 on the K index (aurora richter scale) which ranges from 0 – 9 so this was a big storm.

It is quite common to see Aurora in Northern Scotland, but at approximately midnight, aurora was seen as far south as Berkshire, Wiltshire and Hampshire in Southern England. It is incredibly rare to see aurora this far south — the last time I remember was in 2003.

I was incredibly lucky to briefly see the pale greenish hue of the aurora through clouds from my back garden in West Berkshire.

Unfortunately a lot of people in England and Scotland were under thick cloud and missed this fantastic display, but thanks to fantastic astrophotographers such as Raymond Gilchrist (@RayGil on twitter) we are able to see the aurora through his images.

Did you see any aurora activity in your location? Geomagnetic activity remains high as I write this article, so I hope the sky clears and we are given another fantastic display of this rare phenomenon soon.

Aurora on the River Tay, Newburgh, Fife, Scotland Credit: photosbyzoe

7 Responses

  1. petr says

    I got an email from saying that the auroras were likely, so I went outside to see the northern lights for the first time in my life…. and it was cloudy. And it stayed cloudy as well.

  2. Ed Tordoff says

    im sorry this isnt anything to do with the aurora Borealis this is just nuclear glow. i know because i took a similar photo of my town last week and it looks the same apart from a faint blue sky. also im kinda confused as to why its said that southern england saw it and both pictures are from cumbria which is northern england

  3. Anonymous says

    A nice HD video of the northern lights as they were seen during a strong geomagnetic storm can be seen at http://www


  4. Andrew Reeves says

    Some green glow from the northern lights was visible from Atlantic Canada and for a short period (less than an hour – maybe longer but the Sun had just set so it would be impossible to know) there were green ribbons dancing in the northern sky.

  5. Anonymous says

    The link to the HD aurora video seems to be broken, you can use to watch it. Enjoy!

  6. Alex Hall says

    I was too late 🙁 Amazing photos tho!

  7. vipshopper says

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