A magnificent display of northern lights, or the aurora borealis, lit up skies around the world in the northern hemisphere over the weekend, stunning sky watchers from Scotland to the United States. The skies “danced with bands of green, yellow and other colors” on Saturday night, according to NPR.
A huge solar flare at the same time just added drama to the show, as the flare had erupted from the sun on Wednesday. The impact of the solar flare will go far beyond making the northern lights more dramatic, though.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center, Earth will feel the impact of the solar flare effects from a large coronal mass ejection throughout the end of Sunday. No communications problems were expected.
Though there were many amateur photos posted to social media sites of the northern lights, in the United Kingdom a professional photographer took aim and captured some of the most stunning scenes.
Award-winning photographer Maciej Winiarczyk, who often photographs the northern lights, took a series of pictures in Caithness, north Scotland. It is extraordinarily rare to see the northern lights in that part of the world, and some of Winiarczyk’s photographs can be seen on the Daily Mail’s website.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, Winiarczyk gave some pointers for best viewing of the northern lights.
“On the photographs, the aurora looks quite clear but to the naked eye the display was not so obvious, as there was very bright moonlight in the sky washing out faint aurora details,” he said. “The air was very foggy and there were plenty of clouds around so I spent more time driving around looking for clear locations than actually taking pictures.”
According to the photographer, the best nights to see the northern lights are when there is no moon in the sky and “it is really dark.”
Here are some favorite northern lights pics from Twitter:
— Mark Boardman (@BlogYourWorld) September 14, 2014
And this one from Canada: