Beautiful Northern Lights in Bearsden

Aurora Borealis over Bearsden
Aurora Borealis over Bearsden

Most photographers wait for many years to capture an image of like this one of a stunning celestial phenomenon - the Aurora Borealis.

This photo of the rare display of Northern Lights was taken by physicist Stefan Franczuk in the garden of his home in Bearsden on Thursday, February 27 at about 9pm.

Stefan, who is a keen amateur astronomer and astro-photographer, had heard that there was the possibility of some visiable aurora in the evening so he kept his eye on the sky.

An aurora, from the Latin word aurora, “sunrise” or the Roman goddess of dawn, is a natural light display in the sky particularly in the high latitude (Arctic and Antarctic) regions, caused by the collision of energetic charged particles with atoms in the high altitude atmosphere (thermosphere).

Stefan said: “At its strongest I saw some of the best aurora I have ever seen in the UK. There was a very bright green glow over the horizon, and then huge ‘curtains’ of red aurora descending up and down almost right overhead. You could see it changing all the time. I know the red aurora is quite rare, it has to be a very strong solar storm to cause that.

“I know the green aurora is caused by the solar wind exciting oxygen molecules in the upper atmosphere, whilst the much rarer red is caused by atmospheric nitrogen being excited. It’s quite rare to see a red aurora from the UK.

“In 40 years of sky watching I have never seen such strong aurora here, the last time I saw it this good was from Alaska many years ago. I was astounded to see this in the skies from Bearsden!”

He says that the spectacular sight was at its strongest around 9.30pm that evening. It died of a bit then came back about an hour later.

He added: “The camera obviously makes it very visible but it was easily visible with just the naked eye.

“The solar storm that caused this aurora actually hit the Earth with just a glancing blow, if it had been a direct hit it would have been much stronger.”

While countries like Sweden and Norway often experience Aurora Borealis sightings, the Northern Lights are also visible in the UK a few days per year.

The light show over the UK lasted for about an hour with a display of green and red.