Spectacular Aurora Borealis Lights Up Northern England’s Skies


Underneath the towering stature of the iconic Sycamore Gap tree in Hexham, esteemed photographer Wil Cheung found the perfect canvas to capture an ethereal spectacle—the arresting dance of the aurora borealis. Sky tones of blush pink, verdant green, and radiant yellow intermingled as the celestial drapery descended upon parts of northern England.

On the evening of Tuesday, this extraordinary natural phenomenon enthralled spectators and shutterbugs across the Lake District and Northumberland. For those who are unversed, the aurora is birthed when atoms in the Earth’s high-altitude atmosphere engage in an aerial ballet with charged particles from the Sun, birthing luminescent displays of sheer beauty.

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From the fruitful valleys of Scotland to the rolling hills of Yorkshire and down to the rugged coastlines of Cornwall, the spectrum of fluorescent hues unveiled the mysterious magic of the aurora borealis.

Photographers braced the night chill, their lenses fixated at the cerulean canvas as they waited to immortalize the spectral splendour. Leah Hennessey, deeply enamoured with the Northern Lights, took station near Ashness Jetty by Keswick. She aimed to paint a portrait of the Milky Way but found herself being invariably drawn to the enigmatic glow of the aurora.

Another passionate stargazer, Mark Hetherington, was overwhelmed with excitement as he captured a radiant yellow glow near Haweswater Reservoir, Cumbria. In his company was Jonny Gios, who too, had come with the intention of photographing the Milky Way, but instead became a fortunate spectator to the captivating display of the aurora borealis.

Under the celestial exhibition, Northumberland came alive, from Rothley Castle to Bamburgh lighthouse, right down to near Holy Island Causeway. Tom Wright watched in awe, surrendering his sleep to the hypnotic spectacle that lasted from 21:30 BST until 04:00.

Not to be left behind, photographers in Yorkshire, Aberdeenshire and Argyll and Bute in Scotland immortalized the captivating sight in their frames. Andy Ward, a spectator near Ingleton in the Yorkshire Dales, described the streams of light reaching skyward akin to searchlights in action, despite the spectacle being monochrome to the naked eye.

Now that autumn has arrived, with its repertoire of longer nights, the opportunities to witness the Northern Lights have increased. Although sightings in north-east England and Cumbria aren’t rare, such vivid showcase early in the autumn defies expectations.

Steven Lomas succumbed to the picturesque beauty of the pink and yellow hues painting the skies above Bamburgh lighthouse. Ashely Corr echoed the sentiment as he experienced a “magnificent display” in Howick, Northumberland, a place he had to himself for a mesmerising few hours after a two-hour journey from Houghton-Le-Spring.

From Howick, the sky theatre extended over the refuge hut on the Holy Island causeway in Northumberland, captured in a splendid shot by Owen Humphreys, thereby binding countless nocturnal admirers in a shared awe of nature’s grand spectacle—the Aurora Borealis.