Hopes of a display of the aurora borealis in northern Scotland and other parts of the UK this week have been raised.
A large solar flare earlier this week has released an explosion of electromagnetic matter, called a coronal mass ejection, with the highly charged particles known to play a part in generating the spectacular Northern Lights show.
The solar storm is expected to hit the earth’s atmosphere today (Wednesday, March 14) and tomorrow, primarily in Northern Scotland but possibly in other parts of the UK.
Its arrival ahead of the spring equinox on March 20, which marks the time when the sun crosses the equator, from south to north, is also significant.
Alistair McLean, managing director of The Aurora Zone, a holiday company which specialises in Northern Lights tours, said: “This time of year does coincide with the equinox which is often associated with higher levels of solar activity, and the Space Weather Prediction Centre is suggesting that we might see KP5 on Wednesday, March 14.
“The KP index is the scale used to measure geomagnetic storms and it ranges from 0 (very little activity) to 9 (huge!) and, as a basic rule of thumb, the larger the number, the further south the lights can be seen.”