Spectacular displays are expected to be seen across Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland
To star gazers: Fireworks show called Northern Lights coming
Stars to view: planned star-gazing supermoon seen across UK
With each slight red tint that lights up the night sky, the winter’s full moon promises to be a spectacular sight for star gazers across the UK.
From Rossendale in Lancashire to Newry in Northern Ireland, and South Tyneside in England, the half-full moon will turn the sky darker than usual, producing the colourful Northern Lights.
The UK’s largest total solar eclipse will also come this week, on Thursday.
Northern Lights seen from Fiddler’s Green Bay in Wisconsin, 17 November 2018. Photograph: Thinkstock
Forecasters said the best times to see the Northern Lights, otherwise known as the aurora borealis, will be between 8pm and 9pm on Tuesday and between 5pm and 6pm on Wednesday.
But a spectacular display could be seen any time, regardless of the time of night.
The Met Office weather forecaster Simon Partridge said: “We’ve got some bright skies expected across Northern Ireland and parts of Scotland.
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“We can also expect clear skies across the Republic of Ireland and the south of England.
“It’s not so bright over the north-west of England and Wales, where there is likely to be some cloud.”
The best weather conditions for the Northern Lights to form are during the night and early morning hours. But even during the day the stars may be able to be seen, possibly through a telescope and special UV protective sunglasses.
If the weather is not clear it is unlikely that the weather will be close enough to get dark enough for the lights to form.
“You do have to have fairly certain skies,” Partridge said. “You can’t see it if it’s in bright light.
“You also need a bit of Earth-like material in the atmosphere – planets, asteroids. Anything that might contain water and atmospheric elements.
“Those are the two conditions for it to form and you’ve got to have those two things in the atmosphere. But you could see it if the weather is clear.”
On Thursday the UK will see its partial solar eclipse at 9.34am GMT, with the “ring of fire” visible in Britain.