Northern lights may be visible in Manchester tonight as solar flare set to hit Earth

People across Manchester could be lucky enough to spot the northern lights tonight, though forecasters have warned that cloudy skies could make visibility difficult.

The aurora borealis, or the northern lights as they are commonly known at Dunstanburgh Castle in Northumberland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday February 17, 2015. See PA story ENVIRONMENT Aurora. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

A solar flare is set to hit Earth this evening, resulting in a possible sighting of the northern lights for people in some parts of the UK.

Also known as a coronal mass ejection, the solar flare will bring the aurora to lower latitudes and increase the likelihood of a northern lights sighting, though cloudy skies could make it difficult to spot.

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Residents of the northern regions of Scotland have the best chance to clearly view the colourful show, whilst it has a good chance of being visible for those in northern England.

The display, originally known as aurora borealis, is regularly reserved for places like the Arctic Circle and Iceland, but a geomagnetic storm will help it grace places down south.

Excited crowds flocked to social media to share images of the phenomenon last night from areas such as Kirkwall in Scotland, though the Met Office have warned that visibility will drastically reduce this evening.

Aurora Watch UK, which is run by Lancaster University, is estimating increased activity this evening between 7-9pm and 2-7am tomorrow morning.

It is expected that the best period to spot the northern lights in the UK will be at around 4am Wednesday morning.

The further north you are, the better chance you will have to spot it, though there is no guarantee since most of the country is forecast to have cloudy skies.

Experts, AccuWeather, are predicting 90% cloud coverage in Manchester at the peak of northern lights visibility (4am).