Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 7°C

ESTD 1874 Search

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.

shares

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.”

shares

1 comment

  • Yes. Saw them at midnight last night. Amazing

    Report this comment

    John Alborough

    Friday, February 28, 2014

Fire crews rescue the man in Rumburgh - photo Jane Davis

A driver is lucky to have escaped after his car careered off the road and into a pond in Rumburgh, say eyewitnesses.

There are around 17 miles of tailbacks on the northbound A12 this evening.

A property in Leavenheath was burgled on Monday.

Police are appealing for information after a man who exposed himself to a 16-year-old boy on Tuesday.

Nowton Park daffodils. Pictured is George Cole.

March winds and April showers should give a very traditional flavour to the weather over the next few days as youngsters across Suffolk start their Easter school holidays.

The Charlatans' frontman Tim Burgess is looking forward to returning to V Festival this year

The Charlatans are among the latest names added to this year’s V Festival.

Staff at Sainsbury's on Woodbridge Road Andrew Rodger (left) and Martin Palman with youngsters at Noah's Ark Pre-School taking part in a fundraising 'bunny bounce' to raise money for a better outdoor play area and staff Sam Chambers (front L to R) Sophie Woodward and Sue Woolard.

Dozens of toddlers have helped an Ipswich pre-school raise funds to improve its outdoor play area – by taking part in a ‘Bunny Bounce’ challenge.

Hollesley.

Opposition has been voiced over proposals to use part of the grounds of a residential home for nine properties, including much-needed affordable housing.

The design of the proposed new clifftop shelter at Felixstowe - a replacement for an earlier modernistic design labelled as a monstrosity by some councillors.

Proposals for a new clifftop shelter labelled by a community leader as a “monstrosity” have been ditched in favour of a more traditional design.

Enthusiasts at Bawdsey Transmitter Block at Bawdsey Manor to mark the 80th anniversary of the Daventry Experiment which proved radar was possible. A £1.4m lottery bid has been lodged to preserve the old radar station.

Enthusiasts have submitted an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for grant aid towards a £1.4million project to preserve one of Britain’s most precious pieces of war-time history and turn it into a major attraction.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages