Spectacular Northern Lights display stretches down Scottish coast

The three Bridges of the Firth of Forth are framed by a bright green aurora. Picture: SWNS
The three Bridges of the Firth of Forth are framed by a bright green aurora. Picture: SWNS
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A spectacular display of the Northern Lights could be seen down Scotland’s east coast in the early hours of yesterday.

Hundreds of people witnessed the dancing colour of the aurora borealis of Northern Lights, as they exploded over Edinburgh.

During a light show the lasted for more than an hour, civil engineer Paul Baralos took photographs of a bright green streak of light framing the three bridges of the Firth of Forth.

The vivid aurora was seen further south than normal due to a burst of high solar activity.

Mr Baralos, 43, who helped to work on the new bridge, said it was “pretty special” to have spotted the lights from his kitchen.

He said: “It was just by luck that I saw them – I was heading up to bed and I glanced out my kitchen window.

“I actually went to Iceland a few years ago for Christmas, hoping to see the Northern Lights, but the weather was bad so I didn’t get to see them.

“To be able to see them within five or six miles of my own house was pretty special.

“You can see the Northern Lights over Scotland about once a year in some form, but never usually this far south.”

Mr Baralos, from Edinburgh, said he spotted the lights at about 12:30am, and that by 12:40am the clouds were beginning to close in and they started to disappear. Specialists advise going to an area of dark sky and a view of the northern horizon to be in with a chance of catching a glimpse of the lights.

Shaun Alexander, an aurahunter from Edinburgh got an alert around 1am on Thursday night and headed straight to the city’s Craigmillar Castle to try to catch a glimpse.

He said: “The storm was incredible because under normal circumstances, you wouldn’t see them at all if you near city lights, while a full moon is also bad.

“Usually you have to drive down the east coast or up to the Highlands to find a place dark enough to see them.

“To see them as clear as I did over Edinburgh means the storm was intense.”

And expert Dr Nathan Case, from Aurora Watch UK at Lancaster University, said significant cosmic activity five days ago had indicated a display was imminent.

“Solar flares were happening on the sun on September 4 and one of those flares is the largest we’ve seen in the last 12 years,” he said.

“It is hard predict exactly when the activity will reach earth and we only knew exactly about an hour before.”