New Northern Lights alert for England on Saturday 18 May

Londoners have been eagerly awaiting the return of the Northern Lights after catching a glimpse of the spectacle last weekend and a warning has now been issued for today, May 18. The Met Office has also explained the best weather conditions for seeing the Northern Lights at night in the sky and there’s also a handy way to keep up to date with when they can be spotted via notifications on your phone.

Met Office says the best conditions to see the Aurora Borealis will be when the sky is dark and clear, as any cloud cover would block the light. It would be best to be as far away from light pollution as possible, in a secluded area and with a view of the northern horizon – and although this is difficult to achieve in the capital, it is still possible to see the lights above the city to see.

The lights are also best seen the further north you go, such as in Scotland, northern England, northern Wales and Northern Ireland. However, there is a chance we could see them in London due to the solar storm.

READ MORE: What the Northern Lights are and what causes them

Geomagnetic activity for Saturday May 18Geomagnetic activity for Saturday May 18

A red alert is forecast for later today (May 18), when the Northern Lights would be most visible. Credit: AuroraWatchUK

According to the Met Office: “The best conditions for viewing the lights are when the sky is dark and there are no clouds. Cloud cover eventually blocks the view of the lights. Ideally, the lights are best viewed without any light pollution, in remote areas , overlooking the northern horizon – the Northern Lights locations offer some of the best viewing locations.

Chance of Northern Lights on Saturday, May 18

AuroraWatchUK has issued a warning for minor geomagnetic activity this morning, meaning the aurora could be visible in certain parts of Britain.

They said: “Aurora can be visible by eye from Scotland and can be visible by camera from Scotland, Northern England and Northern Ireland.”

Although they haven’t mentioned London yet, there was a red alert issue last night for the chance of seeing the Northern Lights in England and although the day is still young there is still a chance that another alert will be issued later or there will be time is to get on a train.

Is the weather good for spotting the Aurora tonight?

According to the Met Office, the weather will be clear tonight, but there is a chance of fog. They predict: “Heavy rain and thunderstorms will fade later this evening and be replaced by drier weather and some clear spells. Low cloud and fog may move inland around the Thames Estuary. Minimum temperature 10°C.”

The fog could cause a visibility problem tonight if there’s a chance the Northern Lights return, but hopefully the skies will clear enough for the phone camera to detect the spectacle.

The most powerful solar storm in twenty years has hit EarthThe most powerful solar storm in twenty years has hit Earth

The Northern Lights come so far south because of the most powerful solar storm in twenty years. Credit: PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

How to get notifications on your phone so you don’t miss the Northern Lights

AuroraWatch UK is a free service that provides alerts when the aurora may be visible from Britain. It is run by scientists from the Space and Planetary Physics group of Lancaster University’s Department of Physics.

You can find it in your phone’s App Store called AuroraWatch UK Aurora Alerts. If you download it, you will get a message on your phone when there is activity that is likely to lead to the Northern Lights. A red alert went out on Saturday, as you can see in the photo above.

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