Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 23°C

min temp: 18°C

ESTD 1874 Search

The pigs have arrived. See the latest

Pigs Gone Wild

news here.

Benhall: Stargazer captures rare Northern Lights images

17:10 28 February 2014

The Northern Lights captured by Richard Ayres of Mollett

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

Rescue teams co-ordinating the search for a missing kayaker off the Jaywick coastline. Picture: RNLI

A major sea rescue operation at Clacton launched after a kayaker went missing on Sunday evening has been called off after the discovery of a body.

Elliott Thompson. Pic: Suffolk Constabulary.

A Stowmarket man has been reported missing to police.

Jousting at Framlingham Castle. Two magnificent knights on horseback clash in an epic battle of bravery and honour as Framlingham Castle hosts its first ever medieval joust.

Two knights on horseback clashed in a battle of bravery and honour as Framlingham Castle hosted its first medieval joust.

Brian Williams

Tributes have been paid to a Suffolk rugby stalwart who dedicated his time to promoting grassroots rugby in the region and across England.

Brightlingsea Regatta fun and games at Sunday afternoon
22/7/2016 Kallum Jagger

Thousands made a splash at the Brightlingsea Regatta this weekend, taking to the water in a range of motor boats.

BHS is closing down in Ipswich

BHS staff in Ipswich have still not been told when the store will close, the Star understands.

George Blagden in Versailles as  Louis XIV  (C) Canal +

He is television’s latest heart-throb, playing a starring role in the BBC’s steamy drama series Versailles.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24