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11th May 2024

Where you can see the Northern Lights tonight in Ireland

Stephen Porzio

There could be another chance to the see the Aurora Borealis.

The Northern Lights are set to be visible in Ireland again tonight, giving astronomy enthusiasts another opportunity to see the incredible phenomenon.

People across the country were treated to a dazzling display on Friday (May 10) as the lights – which are also known as the Aurora Borealis – appeared bright in the sky.

And for anyone who missed out on seeing them, there could be another chance tonight (Saturday, May 11).

The lights were visible in Ireland because of a severe geomagnetic storm, which is one of the biggest in two decades.

It hit Earth in the form of five coronal mass ejections (CMEs) from the Sun.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center classified the storm as a level G4 event, the first time it has issued this warning since 2005.

And the storm is going to last into Saturday evening, meaning the Northern Lights could be visible to many in the Emerald Isle again tonight, although weather experts have said it probably will not be to the same extent as yesterday.

Where will the lights be visible in Ireland on Saturday?

In a video update posted on Twitter, Alan Reilly of Carlow Weather said: “So, there is a chance again tonight to see the Northern Lights.

“It’s still a very strong aurora. At the moment, people in New Zealand are getting some great photos of it.

“Will that hold? [It will] probably still be strong. Whether it will be as strong as last night, hard to know.

“But cloud will be a problem for many areas in the West especially and some parts of the South again, I’m afraid. [There will be] even some showers in parts of the West.”

He added that if you have clear skies, the advice he issued ahead of Friday night stands.

“Look to the North, get away from light and use your smartphone to long exposure mode – figure out how to do that on your camera.

“It was definitely visible last night with the naked eye but it’s not always like that. It’s very very rarely that strong.”

Met Éireann meteorologist Siobhán Ryan echoed Reilly’s comments, telling RTÉ that the most likely areas to see the Northern Lights this evening will be in the North and East of Ireland, where conditions will be clearer.

“Even here in Dublin there’s an outside chance of witnessing the Northern Lights, so best of luck everyone,” she also said.

Ryan also stated that the best chance to see the celestial phenomenon on Saturday will be in the early evening and early night, as opposed to closer to midnight which was the case on Friday.

What causes the Northern Lights?

The aurora borealis, commonly known as the Northern Lights, occur when electrically-charged particles emanate from solar storms and eventually collide with the Earth’s atmosphere.

Increased solar flare activity sends out electrically charged particles from the sun which become trapped in by the Earth’s magnetic field.

These trapped particles then smash into atoms in the Earth’s atmosphere, heating them up in process – which causes the bright colours we know as the Northern Lights.

The lights are usually visible from countries closest to the Arctic, such as Canada, Iceland and Norway.

But when there is particularly large amount of solar activity, they can be visible further south than usual.

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