The Northern Lights have been spotted over York and North Yorkshire - and could be back tonight (Monday). 

The lights - otherwise known as the aurora borealis - appeared over the region during bonfire night on Sunday (November 5).

Aurora hunter Paul Mortimer has spotted the Northern lights 89 times this year over York and North Yorkshire alone and he said Sunday night's display was special.

Paul said: "Last night was fantastic, it was a really strong show.

"People could see it in the Czech Republic, and even in Vienna.”

York Press: Gideon Davies, North Yorkshire Moors

Paul explained that Northern lights are a result of streams of electrically charged particles leaving the sun and hitting the earth, typically travelling at a speed of 300-500 kilometres per second.

However, for last night's display, the particles were said to be travelling at around 800 kilometres per second.

He said: "The big one hit last night."

Aurora hunters such as Paul can forecast a display of the lights when the satellites near Mars pick up activity, after which it typically takes 2-3 days for particles to hit earth.

Using this information, Paul believed that yesterday wasn't the last of the lights over North Yorkshire, saying they could be spotted in some areas tonight (Monday).


Paul said: "We’re currently at the period in the solar cycle called solar maximum.

"There’s another one due tonight."

Despite photographs from readers, not everyone was successful in seeing the lights. Paul shared his advice to those who missed out.

He said: "You need clear skies, and the whole of Yorkshire has clear skies to see it.

"The coast will be the best place to see it."

York Press: Naziya Mahimi, Fulford

Paul said the best locations to see the Northern Lights is north of areas with high light pollution. Scalby, which is north of Scarborough, is one such site. 

But many in the United Kingdom will struggle to see the Northern lights with the naked eye. Paul said: "Usually everybody gets it on camera.

"The human eye struggles to see colour at night, it's monochromatic, whereas a camera processes the colour.

"People go out there expecting big bright colours in the sky, but that’s not how it works in the UK."

Paul's top tip for aspiring aurora hunters is to get to clear skies as soon as it gets dark. He also recommended the Glendale Aurora app, which gives two hours notice before a potential sighting.

If you have any photos of the Northern Lights, post them in our Facebook group 'The Press Camera Club' or email them to: