WATCH: Stunning Time-Lapse Video Shows Northern Lights Filling the UK Sky

by Taylor Cunningham
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An astrophotographer caught a stunning time-lapse video of the Northern Lights making a rare appearance over the United Kingdom.

The lights—also known as the aurora borealis—made appearances over parts of Europe on Sunday, Oct. 16. And Dan Monk, who is the director of astrophotography at the Kielder Observatory, was able to capture the show while working in Kielder Forest in Northumberland.

Northern lights are typically only visible in colder climates such as Canada, Iceland, Norway, and Alaska. But they occasionally make their way into more southern regions.

They appear when solar winds leak through Earth’s magnetic field and funnel into the magnetic North and South poles. The result is an array of lights that turn shades of green, blue, pink, red, yellow, and purple.

Though Monk has made a career out of watching the night skies, he said that he’s only seen the Northern Lights a “handful of times.” So when he noticed them over the weekend, he was quick to grab his gear. And what he captured quickly went internet viral.

“I didn’t get much chance to look at it myself because I was so busy trying to get the camera set up frantically,” he told the Daily Mail.

The Northern Lights Made a Rare Appearance Thanks to ‘Significant Space Weather”

Monk said the cool, clear night was “perfect” for the northern lights. In his footage, he caught swirls of intense greens, yellows, and reds.

“It was amazing really, it was one of the best displays I’ve seen for a while in Northumberland,” he said. “We do get them fairly often but they aren’t that visible to the naked eye, and they are normally better on a camera.”

On Sunday, they were bright enough for anyone to watch, with or without a camera. However, they could only be seen as “very pale green to the naked eye.”

Interestingly, Dan Monk had just given a speech to the public about the northern lights that night. And all the while, the colors were dancing outside the observatory. But he had no idea that they were present until the event concluded.

“When we went outside afterward, it appeared so it was a bit of a perfect night really,” he continued. “So I was running around with a camera trying to capture the moment while people were watching it.”

In all, the lights ended up appearing over St Mary’s Island in Whitley Bay on North Tyneside and in parts of northeast England thanks to “significant space weather activity” predicted by meteorologists days in advance.