When people think of the aurora, they often imagine that to see it requires a trip to Iceland or Finland. Not necessarily! Because every once in a while, on a special night when all the many and complex auroral variables are in alignment, the Emerald Isle herself is bathed in hauntingly glorious swathes of green light draped across her northern skies - and the aurora comes to pay us a visit! And when I hear of a possible sighting, I drop everything, run for some dark skies, and look to the northern horizon. And these are some of the sights I have had the privilege to behold...
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Antrim Coast Road
During the never-ending hours of summer twilight, when it is often too bright for the aurora to be seen, its lesser know long lost cousin makes an appearance in the skies over Ireland. Cue the noctilucent clouds, so called as they are the clouds which glow in the dark. Seeded by the dust of burning meteors, they are found 85 km high in the last of what can properly be considered as our atmosphere. Whispy and ethereal, they can only be seen when the sun has set below the horizon. From there, it shines obliquely onto the lower side of the clouds, lighting them from below. They are a mesmerizing sight, spread across the deep blues of the twilight skies.