Northern Lights Alert Glasgow: Solar storm to bring early Aurora Borealis Christmas gift for Scotland

Christmas could come early for Glasgow on Thursday evening if the Northern Lights make a surprise appearance before Santa Claus arrives.

A solar storm that occurred on Monday December 20 means people living in Glasgow could catch a rare glimpse of the Northern Lights on Thursday December 23.

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Much depends on the weather for Thursday evening but Monday’s storm is set to manifest itself as a “G1/Minor geomagnetic storm” which might be viewable late on Thursday and into the early hours of Christmas Eve.

There have been two further solar storms (coronal mass ejections - CMEs) since Monday with all three potentially directed towards Earth.

The second is from an eruption on December 21, perhaps giving a glancing impact on December 26.

The third CME is from a moderate flare on December 22, but has yet to be fully assessed.

“The auroral oval is likely to be slightly enhanced at high latitudes from the December 22 to 24 due to coronal hole geomagnetic activity enhancement, and the chance of a weak coronal mass ejection arriving on December 23,” said the Met Office.

There is an increased chance that the Northern Lights could be viewed from Glasgow and other parts of Scotland on December 23.

What are the Northern Lights?

Also known as aurora borealis, are an interaction between Earth’s magnetic field and charged particles emitted by the sun. The sun has its own solar wind that sends out charged particles.

These particles then spiral around Earth’s magnetic fields.

What is a coronal mass ejection (CME)?

They are large clouds of solar plasma and embedded magnetic fields released into space after a solar eruption. CMEs expand as they sweep through space, often measuring millions of miles across, and can collide with planetary magnetic fields. (Source: NASA)

Glasgow weather forecast December 23 and 24:

Widespread rain at first this evening becoming light and patchy overnight, with the south turning mainly dry.

Rather misty with a good deal of hill fog. Minimum temperature 4 °C. (Source: The Met Office)