March 12 2014 Latest news:
Friday, February 28, 2014
Stargazers were treated to a sparkling display last night when the Aurora Borealis lit up the skies over Norfolk.
Photographs of the phenomenon – caused by charged particles from the sun interacting with our atmosphere – have been circulating on social networks overnight and this morning as people across the county fell under the spell of the dancing lights.
Duty forecaster at Weatherquest, Steve Western, this morning explained that the Vikings used to call the phenomenon “the bridge to Valhalla”.
He added that the Aurora may return over the weekend.
“It is quite likely that over the next few days we may see it again. The only problem will be the cloudy weather.
“Tonight there will be some breaks in the cloud. Saturday night there will be more of a chance to see it again rather than tonight - maybe Sunday too.”
Norfolk astronomer Mark Thompson, host of Stargazing Live, posted a picture on Twitter of the display, which is also known as the Northern Lights.
He said the spectacle had been anticipated, following a burst of activity on the sun around four days ago, but that it had been brighter than expected.
“Aurora displays usually happen around the North and South poles, so to see them this far south is pretty rare,” he said.
“I haven’t seen one like that in Norfolk for about 20 years.”
Starting at around 8pm, the lights lasted several hours and faded during the early hours of this morning.
Mr Thompson said the aurora would have been visible across the county and into Suffolk, but that people in north Norfolk would have had the best view.
“They wouldn’t have had the bright lights of Norwich in the way, as you look due north to see the aurora,” he said.
“Scientifically, we don’t learn a lot from Aurora Borealis – they are just nice to look at.
“But I’m writing a book on astronomical photography at the moment and, as luck would have it, I got the chance to get some pictures of my own.” Comments on Twitter have been flooding in.
Wymondham resident Dani Groom (@DaniGroom) was unable to see the spectacle and said: “I’ve just looked outside my window in Wymondham. Nothing here wish there was would LOVE to see it.”
Taking photos from Cley Windmill, @BrianEganPhoto tweeted: “Aurora Borealis from @CleyMillNorfolk in North Norfolk tonight Magic.” And Lois Carter (@Loiscarter) simply tweeted: “Whoa!”
• If you saw the aurora and have photos we would love to use them. Also we want to know if you are going aurora-hunting in Norfolk tonight. Send your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org or edp24 on Twitter.