Last year there were some beautiful images of the aurora borealis submitted to Astronomy Photographer of the Year. I’ve only ever seen the Northern Lights from the West Country once, many years ago, and even then it was little more than a faint ruby-red glow on the northern horizon. But that was enough to whet my appetite and make me want to see them properly.
For this reason, a few months ago, I set out to learn exactly what would have to happen to create a big auroral display across most of UK, including southern England. The results of my research can be found in my new article in the February 2011 Sky at Night Magazine. In it I interview solar scientist Dr Jim Wild and aurora hunter Martin McKenna, to get their advice on what we should look out for. Over the next few years, as the Sun reaches the more active part of its cycle, we may get a visit from the Northern Lights so now’s the time to swot up. The magazine is on sale next week; pick up your copy to get prepared.