PHOTO GALLERY: See striking northern lights shine across Czech lands

The visual display was most visible from high-altitude areas in the country and may return in the coming days.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 06.11.2023 10:00:00 (updated on 06.11.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Parts of Czechia could see the northern lights phenomenon, or aurora borealis, on Sunday evening and night. The best vantage points to see the display, according to the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (ČHMÚ), were in South Bohemia, the Czech highlands, and South Moravia.

"Before lunch Sunday, the product of a solar flare in the atmosphere made its way to Earth,” explained the ČHMÚ on social media platform X. This made it possible to see the aurora borealis – displayed in shades of purple, pink, and orange – and further solar flares are possible in the coming days, according to the ČHMÚ.

Best viewed from high up

According to meteorologists, Sunday’s weather was not particularly favorable for observing the lights, as there was a lot of cloud cover in most areas of Czechia. To observe the spectacle, an open, north-facing horizon at a high-altitude mountainous area in the dark is the optimal setting, the ČHMÚ notes. 

The aurora borealis is formed when charged particles from the Sun, carried by the solar wind, interact with the Earth's magnetic field. As these particles enter the atmosphere near the Earth's poles, they collide with atoms, causing them to emit light. The different colors of the aurora are determined by the type of gas and the altitude of the collision.

"How long the auroras will be observable is impossible to estimate. It all depends on the properties of the solar wind that flows towards us after this impact. Scientists believe that the currently increased geomagnetic activity on Earth may last until Nov. 11, so additional auroras may also appear over Czech horizons. They will probably only be visible photographically," noted photographer Petr Horálek in Novinky.cz, who has been capturing the aurora borealis for a long time.

TIP

For a forecast of the northern lights and to see the probability of seeing them from your area, check out this tool from the U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center.

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The lights were visible from most European countries Sunday night, including Slovakia, the U.K., Italy, Greece, and Turkey. Sightings were also reported in Ukraine, Hungary, and Romania.

In February and April this year, people could view the aurora borealis from large cities in Czechia, despite overcast conditions.

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