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27th Feb 2023

Irish Insta feeds aglow as Aurora Borealis visible from several counties last night

Fiona Frawley

the northern lights over an irish beach

Header image via Fiachra Mangan

It’s like when everyone shares a pic of the emaciated snowman they’ve made after a centimetre deep sprinkling of snow, but way better.

If you talk to anyone from Donegal, they’ll probably tell you that the Northern Lights are visible from their back garden on any old night if you look hard enough. But last night, there was absolutely no denying the visibility of the astronomical phenomenon in Ireland.

Stargazers all over the country last night were treated to a show like no other as the Aurora borealis were clearly seen from a number of vantage points, including as far south as Waterford.

The celestial spectacle filled the skies with green, pink and purple over the weekend, with experts saying it may be visible again tonight.

The Northern Lights (or ‘Aurora borealis’ in the northern hemisphere) are the results of collisions between gas particles in our atmosphere and charged particles ejected from the Sun’s atmosphere.

The phenomenon is usually most visible near the north and south poles, when high-speed electrically charged particles from space collide with gas molecules in Earth’s upper atmosphere.

However, the arrival of a coronal mass ejection from the sun can cause the annulus to expand, bringing the aurora to lower latitudes, meaning that the lights can be seen in the UK and Ireland, the UK Met Office explains.

If you’re looking to catch a glimpse of the lights tonight, Met Éireann advise heading to an area with a very small amount of light pollution. Parts of the west and north coast would offer the greatest chance of seeing the display, meteorologists say.

There are also a number of forecast services for the Northern Lights; one such service comes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This provides a thirty minute forecast for the Aurora.

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