THE Northern Lights lit up skies across Scotland on Sunday evening.

The Met Office confirmed the lights were “observed across Scotland, clearly visible from Shetland webcams, and sightings reported across some central and eastern parts of England”.

The National: Credit: Craig Smith - Orkney

The National: Eilidh Grant Leslie said they could see the lights over Houston Primary School  in Johnstone

Professor Don Pollacco, department of physics at the University of Warwick, said the phenomenon was caused by “the interaction of particles coming from the sun, the solar wind, with the Earth’s atmosphere – channelled to the polar regions by the Earth’s magnetic fields”.

The National: Credit: Sal Tarquin Coutts - Lossiemouth

He added: “It’s actually a bit like iron filings and the field of a bar magnetic. The solar wind contains more particles when there are sun spots, as these are regions on the sun’s surface where the magnetic field is interacting with the plasma in the sun, and the particles can be released.

The National: FacebookFacebook (Image: Gillian Lisa Patrascu)Credit: Gillian Lisa Patrascu "looking over the Pentland Hills"

The National: Credit: Ruth Gordon - Kirkcudbright 

“Once the particles are channelled into the Earth’s atmosphere they interact with molecules and have distinctive colours and patterns such as light emissions that look like curtains or spotlights.

“These shapes change quickly over timescales of minutes/seconds.”