Great Escapes: Spring Travel

Stunning northern lights illuminate British skies

Pietro Lombardi, for CNNUpdated 7th March 2016
The Aurora Borealis painted British skies with shades of green, blue, and purple
(CNN) — The dancing lights of the Aurora Borealis, also known as the northern lights, captivated Britons on Sunday evening -- including those in southern regions who rarely see such a spectacle.
People took to social media to share pictures of the dazzling skies tinted green, blue, and purple.
Some, such as as Sam Cornwell, also shared time-lapse videos of the spectacular light show.
Liverpool photographer Gav Trafford tweeted a video of the mesmerizing sight.
Mark McIntyre, from Oxford, tweeted several pictures of the vivid lights.
Gavin Chamber posted this picture from Wales.
Photos poured in on social media from across the country.
In the UK, the northern lights are usually visible only in the northernmost regions of Scotland.
Amanda Townsend, adviser at the Met Office -- the UK's official weather service -- told the Press Association that a "lucky combination" of conditions in space and on our planet made the unusual display possible.
"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 added.
Northern lights are triggered by solar particles entering the Earth's atmosphere, according to NASA.
Those who missed the show may have to wait a while before it lights up skies again -- unless they live in northern Scotland.
"The strongest part of the geomagnetic storm has passed and it probably won't be as strong on Monday night, so the main places to see Aurora will be in north Scotland," Townsend said.