'Impossible' orange auroras fill UK skies after solar storm smashes into Earth

'Impossible' orange auroras fill UK skies after solar storm smashes into Earth
Stunning Northern Lights illuminate skies across the UK

The skies of the UK were lit up by the extremely rare orange auroras after a huge solar storm created perfect conditions.

Also known as the Northern Lights, the Aurora Borealis occurs when electrically charged particles enter Earth’s atmosphere at very high speed during a solar storm.

They are typically captured in hues of greens, blues and reds, but during one recent “canyon of fire” solar storm that hit our planet, some “impossible” shades of orange were captured in stunning images.

Orange auroras are extremely rarely seen and technically shouldn't exist, making the images taken by photographer Graeme Whipps even more mind-blowing.

Whipps saw the orange auroras over Aberdeenshire in Scotland at around 6 pm on 25 November, according to

He told the publication it was an “incredible sight” and added that they lasted for around an hour before disappearing. Along with the auroral activity, Whipps was also lucky enough to capture a meteor that passed by in the sky.

The colours given off by the Aurora Borealis are determined by the molecules of oxygen and nitrogen and are dependent on the altitude at which they enter the atmosphere.

In rare cases, solar particles that penetrate deep into the Earth’s atmosphere can excite nitrogen molecules, causing the rare pink auroras.

But, when the even rarer orange auroras occur, it is down to the mixing of red and green light. This is only possible when vertical bands of red and green auroras overlap perfectly – an extremely uncommon occurrence.

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