The Northern Lights brighten up UK skies in rare guest appearance

The Northern Lights brightened up the UK's skies on Thursday evening in a stunning display of colour, even though they're usually confined to a circle of about 2,500 kilometres around the magnetic poles.

Famous for making an elusive appearance in the Arctic and Antarctic polar regions, the Aurora Borealis could be seen across skies in Scotland, Northumberland and as far south as Essex, turning the sky into a sea of bright green, pink, yellow and orange.

We take a look at the rare light display, which is often created by the collision of particles from the sun entering the earth's atmosphere...

The aurora borealis, the elusive natural lights famous for becoming visible in the polar regions, made it all the way to Haydon Bridge, Northumberland, to make a guest appearance on Thursday.  Photo: © Rex

The aurora borealis, named after Aurora, the Roman goddess of the dawn, and Boreas, the Greek god of the north wind and bringer of Winter, is seen here lighting up the sky over St. Mary's Lighthouse in Whitely Bay, North Tyneside. Photo: © Rex

The UK sky was turned into a sea of colour on Thursday by the arrival of the Northern Lights. Pictured here, as seen from a garden in Cumbria.  Photo: © Rex

The Ayr coastline shined bright gold when the Aurora Borealis, usually confined to a circle of about 2,500 kilometres around the magnetic poles, reached the UK.  Photo: © Rex

The silhouette of a tree set against the illuminated sky, as seen from Cairngorms National Park in the north east of Scotland.  Photo: © Rex