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Northern Lights visible from the Isle of Man
The Northern Lights
It's like seeing a moving curtain of blues, greens, reds and yellows

The Northern Lights are occasionally visible from the Isle of Man, according to the chairman of the Isle of Man Astronomical Society, Howard Parkin.

"The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) can be seen from the Isle of Man at anytime of the year but they are their best in March and April.

"They are nothing really to do with astronomy but they are seen as an astronomical feature.

"They look spectacular so forget the technical reasons and enjoy them.

They look like curtains waving in the wind and they are huge. I've seen some great pictures of the Aurora Borealis but none of them do it justice
Howard Parkin

"They happen when the incoming solar radiation hits the earth's upper atmosphere and excites atoms to a new energy state. This is when they emit colours which is energy in the form of light.

"That's the boring scientific explanation for, what is, one of the most fantastic features of the night sky.

"It's like seeing a moving curtain of blues, greens, reds and yellows.

"They are of course best seen from the Northern latitudes like Norway, Alaska, Iceland and maybe Northern Scotland but from a good Northerly horizon they can sometimes be seen from the Isle of Man.

The Northern Lights by James Martin from Ballaterson Farm in Peel
The Northern lights seen from the observatory on the Isle of Man

"The best place to see them is on the West coast of the Island, from Niarbyl right up to the Point of Ayre. Here you have a fantastic view of the Northern horizon.

"Just look to the Northern horizon and you will see what initially looks like clouds but you will realise you can still see the stars through them. If this happens you are looking at the Northern Lights.

"If you wait a bit longer you may experience a good aurora storm where you can see the colours of light coming through. The different colours represent different elements.

"We had a sky watch once at Niarbyl back in 2002 and out of blue came this incredible aurora display. It was completely unexpected so you never know, we might get another one this year.

"They look like curtains waving in the wind and they are huge. I've seen some great pictures of the Aurora Borealis but none of them do it justice.

"Seeing it is one of the most incredible sights in the world."




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