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The Northern Lights might be illuminating our skies tonight in the Highlands, islands and north-east

The Northern Lights are set to illuminate the skies in the Highlands, islands and north-east tonight. Picture by William Bird.
The Northern Lights are set to illuminate the skies in the Highlands, islands and north-east tonight. Picture by William Bird.

Forecasters have announced there is a chance the Aurora Borealis will be visible in the north of Scotland on Thursday evening.

For those who have missed out on the some of the spectacular displays in the past, you may be in luck.

The Met Office has said that there is a high chance that the Aurora Borealis could be seen as far as Fort William tonight.

This most recent display is said to be caused due to enhanced geomagnetic activity creating a powerful geomagnetic storm.

In other words, it is caused by magnetic fields, radiation, particles and matter, which have been ejected from the Sun which then interact with the Earth’s upper atmosphere and surrounding magnetic field.

This produces a variety of effects in different colours, shapes and patterns across the night sky.

Where and when could the Northern Lights be seen?

While it can never be an absolute certainty that the lights will be visible, the further north in the UK you are, the more likely that you will catch the display.

Those in the Highlands, islands and north-east will stand the greatest chance of spotting the natural phenomenon.

The skies are forecast to be mostly clear in Stornoway and Fort William this evening which should give locals a good possibility of seeing the lights if they do appear.

However, in Orkney, Inverness, Fraserburgh and Elgin there is cloud, snow and rain forecast this evening meaning the Northern Lights could be more difficult to see.

Thurso and Aberdeen only appear to have slight cloud cover forecast which could mean locals catch a glimpse of the display.

The lights are likely to be active from 8pm until 4am on Thursday evening.

To keep up to date with the Northern Lights forecast, visit the AuroraWatch UK website.

What are the Northern Lights and where can they be seen in Scotland?

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