A SPECTACULAR light show filled the air above Hartlepool – and a town photographer was there to capture it all.
Michael Wilkinson, 30, from Seaton Carew, heard that the Northern Lights would be making a once-in-a-decade appearance above the town.
So he headed out in his car and grabbed this colourful image from the skies near the Spion Kop shortly after 10pm on Thursday.
Michael, who works as a planner at Hartlepool’s Expanded Metal plant, said: “People had posted photos of it on Facebook at South Shields, so I immediately decided to go out and see if I could see it in Hartlepool.
“I went out past Spion Kop, got my camera and tripod out and there was this really bright green light for about half an hour.”
Jack Youdale, the honorary president of the Cleveland and Darlington Astronomical Society, said: “To get a display of that sort of strength in our latitude is something that only happens about once every ten years.”
The display occurs when explosions on the surface of the Sun hurl huge amounts of charged particles into space, according to the British Geological Survey (BGS).
Those thrown towards Earth are captured by its magnetic field and guided towards the geomagnetic polar regions. Charged particles collide with gas molecules in the atmosphere, and the subsequent energy is given off as light.
l Did you video or photo the Northern Lights above Hartlepool? Email firstname.lastname@example.org