In pictures: Northern Lights spotted over Scotland

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SPECTACULAR displays of the Northern Lights have been captured across parts of the UK after stargazers were ­treated to a dazzling night-time display.

Vibrant shades of green, purple, pink and yellow painted clear frosty skies as photographers UK-wide captured the magic on Sunday night.

Tankerness, Orkney. Picture: Kenny Ritch

Tankerness, Orkney. Picture: Kenny Ritch

The aurora borealis was visible for several hours from about 8pm in Scotland and Northern Ireland but was also spotted as far south as Oxfordshire.

The ethereal spectacle – which can create a sound like static that is often audible– is caused by charged solar particles interacting with the Earth’s magnetic field and is usually only visible in the far north.

A “lucky combination” of conditions in the lower atmosphere and in space meant the phenomenon was visible across the country, Met Office adviser Amanda Townsend said.

She added: “Once in a while the solar winds are enhanced to levels stronger than normal, with particles at higher speeds, and on this occasion it has connected really well with the Earth’s magnetic field.”

In addition to the cosmic weather being just right, conditions closer to the ground favoured those who ventured out into the cold March night.

Many took to social media to share their photos of the northern lights, including views from Oxfordshire, the Isle of Man, Donegal and ­Aberdeen.

Mark McIntyre tweeted several images showing a purple tinge to skies around seven miles north of Oxford. He said: “If there were ever a nice powercut in Banbury I’d be happy!”

Those who missed the light show in England might have to wait a while for the next display.

Inverness. Picture: Nat Smith

Inverness. Picture: Nat Smith

However, parts of north Scotland were last night ­hoping to see some more ­atmospheric displays.

Photographer Steve Milne took a stunning shot in front of the Scottish Land Girls memorial in Moray – which was unveiled in 2012– lit up by the green and purple sky.

Mr Milne said: “It was one of the strongest displays I have really seen to date and I have seen a few over the years.”

Photographer Maciej Winiarczyk also captured the breathtaking illuminations in Caithness.

Drumoak, Banchory. Picture: Garry Cormack

Drumoak, Banchory. Picture: Garry Cormack

He said: “The display was really good, probably one of the best this year and it was pretty unexpected.

“The lights are quite frequent and I am probably in one of the best spots in the UK to see them but these were amazing.”

The “lucky combination” of conditions in the lower atmosphere and in space meant the aurora was visible for a several hours.

Photographer Pete Summers was fortunate enough to spot the phenomenon just a few miles from his home, also in Moray.

He said: “The lights were absolutely amazing – last night was probably the best display I have ever seen.

“I was in a good spot where I have seen them before but last night was definitely the best.

Corstorphine, Edinburgh. Picture: Ruth Hillman

Corstorphine, Edinburgh. Picture: Ruth Hillman

“They usually don’t live up to what you think they are going to look like but last night it was absolutely spectacular.”

Astronomy photographer Matt Robinson also captured the display in Kielder Water, Northumberland.

He shot the starry sky illuminated with bright green and purple lights.

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Aberlady. Picture: Craig McMillan

Aberlady. Picture: Craig McMillan

Dalkeith, Midlothian. Picture: Louise Glodek

Dalkeith, Midlothian. Picture: Louise Glodek

Musselburgh. Picture: Chris Maguire

Musselburgh. Picture: Chris Maguire

Inverness. Picture: Nat Smith

Inverness. Picture: Nat Smith

Looking to Dundee from Wormit. Picture: Michael Rennie

Looking to Dundee from Wormit. Picture: Michael Rennie

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