In pictures: Northern Lights migrate to Scotland for stunning display
TOURISTS pay thousands to trek to the Arctic tundra for a glimpse of one of the most spectacular displays on Earth.
But people across the length and breadth of Scotland have been enjoying the breathtaking beauty of the Northern Lights.
The aurora borealis created a dancing curtain of green and red shimmering lights across the sky on Sunday night that lasted for hours and could be seen as far south as the Borders and even Yorkshire.
And experts said the display is likely to shine even brighter tonight.
News of the phenomenon extending so far south spread via social networking sites which meant hundreds of people who might otherwise have missed the Merry Dancers stepped out to stare at the sky.
Teacher and photographer Jim Hunter noticed the phenomenon from his back garden in Humbie, East Lothian.
I was out taking pictures of the stars when I saw something that looked like a rainbow, he said. If you looked at the top of the band of green there was a band of red light and then curtains of green light shimmering. It was quite spectacular.
Mr Hunter, who enjoyed the display with a glass of whisky, captured the scene with a four-second exposure on his Nikon D30. He uploaded the photo on to the Blipfoto sharing site where it was shared by thousands of people, including TV scientist Brian Cox and actor Russell Crowe, who retweeted it with the caption Great Photo.
Brian Horisk a semi-professional photographer and website designer from Pitlessie, Fife, heard about the Northern Lights via Twitter and drove to the top of Cults Hill to capture his shot.
I could see it from my bedroom window, but I drove up the hill from the village, he said.
It was like in the summer when you see the dawn breaking but because it was in the north, you could see it was something different.
The image Mr Horisk took with a 30-second exposure on a Nikon D700 was also uploaded to Twitter, where it was seen by people across the world.
It was quite exciting to see the impact it has had, he said.
Gordon Laing, of Edinburgh-based Blipfoto, said that the excitement surrounding photos of the Northern Lights had given him his busiest day on Twitter for some time.
Adrian West, who runs the Meteorwatch website, said the spectacular display had been caused by a sun storm on Thursday. We have had a geomagnetic storm that is caused by plasma that comes from a coronal mass ejection, he said. This interacts with the Earths magnetic field.
The storm on Sunday had a Kp index of 5.67 with the maximum Kp being ten.
Mr West said solar activity meant the aurora borealis was likely to be seen again tonight in southern Scotland and northern England.
If the solar activity intensifies, the lights could be seen in the south of the UK. But its space weather and, just like Earth weather, its very unpredictable.
ACCORDING to Nasa, the geomagnetic storm due tonight could be even more spectacular.
It is due to hit in early afternoon, so the aurora should be visible as soon as it gets dark. Adrian West, of Meteorwatch, suggests heading for somewhere high and dark to see them.
Sky watchers in Shetland, Lewis and Aberdeenshire should see spectacular lights, while in Fife, the Lothians and Strathclyde, people will have to avoid city lights.
If you have any pictures of the Northern Lights for publication in The Scotsman, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Weather for Edinburgh
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 21 C
Wind Speed: 9 mph
Wind direction: South
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Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: North west