Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 2°C

Search

Benhall: Stargazer captures rare Northern Lights images

PUBLISHED: 17:10 28 February 2014 | UPDATED: 10:46 01 March 2014

The Northern Lights captured by Richard Ayres of Mollett's Farm in Benhall near Saxmundham.

The Northern Lights captured by Richard Ayres of Mollett's Farm in Benhall near Saxmundham.

Archant

A stargazer from Suffolk has captured rare images of the Northern Lights after a surge in solar activity made the phenomenon visible far beyond its normal confines of the Arctic Circle.

Richard Ayres, of Mollett’s Farm, Benhall, near Saxmundham, was alerted to the “Aurora-frenzy” over social media on Thursday night as the ethereal illuminations made their seldom seen appearance over the British Isles.

“I started to see people commenting on Twitter that it was not just being seen in Scotland but also in northern England, Lincolnshire, then when someone said it was in Norfolk and I thought ‘gosh, we really might have a chance to see it’.

“We could see the sky take on this rich, vivid red with these green streaks and although I’m sure it was not the same as the sights in Scandinavia and the Arctic, it was still something pretty special.”

Mr Ayres, who watched the spectacle with his wife Sasha and their eight-year-old daughter Maddy, believes the low levels of light pollution in Benhall made it possible to see what eluded so many elsewhere in the county.

The aurora are most commonly seen above the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres but their appearance over the skies of Britain are a far rarer event, occurring only two or three times a year.

Scientists say that a huge solar event, known as a “coronal mass ejection”, that took place last week was responsible for the lights being visible in places as far south as Gloucestershire and Essex.

“When the sun has a major geomagnetic event, the flux of particles is so high that they can penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere at lower latitudes, which is why in England it is only after these storms that we can see the lights,” said Professor Mike Kosch, of the University of Lancaster.

“The sun has its own magnetic field and sometimes it undergoes a major perturbation for reasons that we don’t entirely know.

“The corona of the sun is highly charged and at a very high temperature releases charged particles, which we call coronal mass ejections.”

1 comment

  • Yes. Saw them at midnight last night. Amazing

    Report this comment

    John Alborough

    Friday, February 28, 2014

Caravans have pitched up on land in Martlesham Heath, near Adastral Park, today.

People living along a 183km stretch of Suffolk roads will witness the world’s greatest cyclists race past their doorsteps during Britain’s “premier” road event, which for the first time features a stage hosted entirely within the county.

A series of celebrations marking the achievements of Suffolk’s “most famous daughter” is being held around the centenary of her death.

Former Ipswich Town stars Matt Holland and Russell Osman captained the teams in the annual ITFC Legends charity match, held at Bury Town’s Ram Meadow stadium on Sunday.

East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) thank support from generous communities and corporate organisations across Suffolk.

More than 100 creative computing pupils put their digital skills to the test today at the UK finals of the CoSpace competition in Martlesham.

A planning inquiry into proposals to build 300 homes in Kesgrave has stalled after it was ruled that a key report on housing needs in Suffolk was needed for a fair decision to be made.

Hospitals across the region have been dealt extra funding to cope with pressure on emergency wards over the winter months.

An intrepid Ipswich man will drive more than 10,000 miles through rough terrain in a clapped-out banger this summer as he attempts one of the world’s most gruelling motoring events.

A 22-year-old Suffolk woman who is living with a debilitating spinal condition has told of her agonising wait for a diagnosis and how the disease’s impact on her body rocked her self-confidence.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24