These stunning pictures of the Northern Lights were captured over Donegal last night by a local photographer.
Daragh McDonough, of the popular Donegal Maps page, snapped the spectacular images from near his home in Letterkenny.
“Aurora visible over Donegal again tonight. A few breaks in the cloud cover showing the G1 geomagnetic storm. Amazing colours. Intense colours lit up the clouds earlier in purple hues,” he wrote on this Twitter account last night.
Scores of Donegal skywatchers got a treat as the dancing lights only appear when geomagnetic storms occur.
Geomagnetic storms are disturbances in Earth’s magnetic field that can result in many hours of vibrant auroras both at high latitudes and low latitudes.
While scientists cannot predict precisely when a storm will occur, it is possible to predict when a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) or high speed solar wind stream will sweep past Earth’s magnetic field, creating the conditions that cause geomagnetic storms.
Donegal is a hotspot for the spectacular, thanks to its pristine ‘dark skies’.
Back in June, 2022, we reported that a rural community in south west Donegal is to seek ‘dark skies’ accreditation in order to lure star gazers to the area.
Lárchomhairle Paróiste Ghleanncholmcille has already begun the process which, if successful, could see Glencolmcille becoming a ‘dark sky park.’
The forward thinking community group is in the process of measuring their darkness quality and will need to do that over a six month period.
A Dark Sky Park is more than just dark, it is a place where exceptional starry skies are protected and valued as an important educational, cultural, scenic and natural resource.
By protecting dark skies, it helps ecosystems and wildlife, attracts off- season tourism and reduces our carbon footprint.
In May 2016, the International Dark-Sky Association awarded The Mayo Dark Sky Park a Gold Tier standard of International Dark Sky Park.