Northern lights turn sky green

Northern Lights at Whitley Bay on Sunday, taken by Tom Lowe.
Northern Lights at Whitley Bay on Sunday, taken by Tom Lowe.

HUNDREDS of people turned out across North Tyneside on Sunday and Monday nights hoping to catch a glimpse of the northern lights.

They were not disappointed as this latest display was one of the most spectacular for years, turning the sky green.

On Sunday night, the aurora borealis, caused by unusual solar activity and more often seen in Norway and Lapland, were visible right across the UK.

Our photo of the lights was taken at St Mary’s Lighthouse by Tom Lowe, of Whitley Bay.

Stargazers were also out in droves at St Mary’s Lighthouse on Saturday.

The event – part of the BBC’s Stargazing Live event – attracted more than 1,200 visitors.

Organised by North Tyneside Council’s libraries team and South Shields Astronomical Society, those going along were given the chance to use one of four powerful telescopes to look at the night sky and enjoy views of Jupiter, Venus and Orion.

Society member Ian Wardlaw said: “I was absolutely amazed at the number of people who turned up on such a cold and windy night.

“They waited patiently in queues to look through our telescopes and overall were delighted at what they saw.”

“Most had watched the BBC Stargazing programme and had come to the event in anticipation of seeing deep sky objects for themselves.

“I don’t think they were disappointed.

“We got a lot of relevant questions about astronomy and telescopes, and I hope that some may be encouraged to take up the hobby.”

Glynis Barrie, the council’s cabinet member for leisure, said: “This is the first time we have held an event of this kind, and I’m delighted it proved such a success.

“Stargazing Live has clearly sparked a massive interest in astronomy, which was shown by the sheer number of people who attended the event on the night.”