ANOTHER chance to see the stunning Northern Lights has seen amateur astronomers and photographers in East Lancashire come out in force.

Stargazers were given the second chance in three months to witness the green, purple and blues hues of aurora borealis – with several images captured in the skies over Blackburn late on Sunday and into the early hours of Monday.

The ethereal spectacle is caused by charged solar particles interacting with the Earth’s magnetic field and is usually only visible in the far north of Scotland.

But a ‘lucky combination’ of conditions in the lower atmosphere and in space meant the phenomenon was visible across swathes of the country.

Andy Sierolawski, of The Astronomy Centre, located between Todmorden and Bacup, said: “We are talking about the solar activity variation, which is currently halfway through its cycle, after peaking a couple of years ago.

“It is difficult to make any predictions over when the next one might be occurring. You usually get about a day or two’s notice but I think we are more aware of them then we used to be.

“Within our centre we have around five or six members who are dedicated to tracking phenomena like this and they usually capture a number of images when they go out.”

Met Office space weather adviser Amanda Townsend said: “Once in a while the solar winds are enhanced to levels stronger than normal, with particles at higher speeds, and on this occasion it has connected really well with the Earth’s magnetic field.”

In addition to the cosmic weather being just right, conditions closer to the ground favoured those who ventured out.