The night the sky shone red, green and purple

A corona from Elgin, Moray, Scotland by Alan Tough

On the night of 2024 May 10/11 observers all over the UK and beyond marvelled at a glorious display of the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights.

A giant Coronal Mass Ejection from the Sun arrived at the Earth mid-afternoon, which disturbed the Earth’s magnetic field and channeled high energy particles down towards the magnetic poles. When these particles excite atoms and molecules of oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen the striking colours become apparent.

Photographs taken show vivid colours but to the naked eye observer sometimes the colours were not so obvious.

BAA members from the north of Scotland, to the south of England, and in Ireland, Italy, Spain and Canada captured this event thought to be the biggest display since 2003.

Here are a few shots taken by members and below you can browse a gallery of images,

The most northerly image from Tarbartness, Denis buczynski
Many members were gathering in Greenock for the Spring Meeting and were surprised to find the auroral display happening towards the South. To find a dark place to observe from Steve Knight was able to enter a bowling green to take this shot with an iPhone. However after entering he was locked in and had to climb out!
The aurora in the west with the setting Moon from North Yorkshire, Steve Brown
Overhead through Ursa Major, Farnborough, Steve Elliot
From Greater London, Simon Dawes
Kildare, Ireland, Michael O’Connell
East Devon, David Strange

Here is a gallery of images by BAA members:

Aurora 2024 05 10-11 Gallery

The British Astronomical Association supports amateur astronomers around the UK and the rest of the world. Find out more about the BAA or join us.