Northern Lights seen in Hertfordshire

PUBLISHED: 12:32 28 February 2014 | UPDATED: 12:32 28 February 2014

The aurora could  be seen in Hemel Hempstead last night

The aurora could be seen in Hemel Hempstead last night

Archant

A spectacular light show took place over Hertfordshire last night (Thursday) as the aurora ventured further south than usual.

"It was a bit of a surprise to be honest. "

Dr Mark Gallaway, University of Hertfordshire

Cameras set up by astronomers at the University of Hertfordshire’s (UoH) recorded the green and red flickering lights of the aurora.

Dr Mark Gallaway at the University said: “It was a bit of a surprise to be honest.

“It is very rare for it to come this far south but it can do.

“We have seen them from here (the UoH Bayfordbury campus) before but it is very rare.”

The lights occur when particles from the sun react with the Earth’s atmosphere at the magnetic poles.

This is why they are seen at the north and south poles.

Dr Gallaway said several days ago a big coronal mass ejection took place sending a massive burst of solar wind towards the earth.

“The proportion of oxygen in the atmosphere affects the colour because there is more oxygen higher up,” said Dr Gallaway.

“It is to do with how it interacts with the atmosphere.

“Red means they are very high up, and the green is a lot lower.

“The blue is very, very high up in the atmosphere.”

The video was taken in Hemel Hempstead, but set up and monitored by UoH astronomers.


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