Northern Lights To Become A More Regular Sight Over Ireland

The Northern Lights or the Aurora Borealis at the Giant's Causeway. Photo Martin McKenna,
Over the next two years Irish skies are to be set ablaze with displays of the Northern Lights, some of which could knock out satellites and send power grids into overload plunging millions of people into darkness. 

The surface of our parent star, the Sun, is bubbling with activity, forming giant dark sunspots and creating vast plasma flames, shooting gigantic clouds of material into space and towards our home planet. When these massive ejections strike, they can trigger the breathtaking auroral displays, but also cause havoc in other ways.

Astronomy Ireland's September Public Lecture will be delivered by Dr James Wild of Lancaster University, who will explore this amazing phenomenon. What are they? Can they be predicted? Are they just pretty sights in the sky or can they severely affect our daily lives on the ground?

"The aurora borealis - or northern lights - are one of the most breathtaking sights you will ever see," explained David Moore, editor of Astronomy Ireland magazine.

"Over the last year or so we've been getting more and more photographs of them sent in to our magazine, and we can expect even more to appear over the coming year as the Sun reaches its peak in activity," added Mr. Moore.
Kenneth McDonagh of Donegal Weather Channel emailed us the above image captured by Stoycho Danev in Culdaff, County Donegal on 18/2/12

Aurora 2012 from Christian Mülhauser on Vimeo.

The lecture, In Search of the Northern Lights, will take place on Monday, September 10th, at 8pm in Trinity College Dublin, and people are invited to bring friends and family. Tickets and DVDs of this lecture can be booked online at or by calling (01) 890 11 11.

NOAA image of the sun captured today 06 September 2012.