Rudolph may not be necessary this Christmas, as the Met Office has revealed that the Northern Lights are particularly strong at the North Pole around Christmas Eve. 

Charged particles from the sun’s solar wind that are emitted from our star and collide with Earth’s magnetic field cause the Northern Lights. 

According to the UK Met Office, the huge solar storm that hit the Sun Monday, December 20th, could have made the aurora stronger than normal.

It was caused due to a coronal Mass Ejection (CME), an explosion of magnetically charged particles and plasma within the star’s Corona, which is the outermost layer.

Space weather forecasters predict that the CME will impact Earth on Monday and create intense aurora through tomorrow night.

Rudolph might not be needed this year, after the Met Office revealed the Northern Lights will be particularly strong around the North Pole on Christmas Eve. Stock image

Rudolph won’t be required this year after the Met Office announced that the Northern Lights would be especially strong around the North Pole Christmas Eve. Image from stock

A huge solar storm that erupted on the Sun on Monday, December 20, could make the aurora more intense than usual, according to the UK Met Office. Archive image

The UK Met Office says that the intensity of the aurora could be increased by a massive solar storm, which erupted on Monday, December 20. Archive image 


The Sun’s energy is released suddenly from twisted magnetic fields, which is known as a solar flare. 

They heat materials to millions of degrees in a matter of minutes and emit a flash of electromagnetic radiation that spans the entire electromagnetic spectrum. This includes radio waves, x-rays, and gamma beams.  

The solar flares differ from ‘coronal masses ejections (CMEs), that were thought to have been initiated by sunspots. 

CMEs, which are large bubbles of gas tethered to magnetic fields lines and ejected over several hours from the Sun, are enormous. 

The Northern Lights may be stunning, but a powerful CME can cause geomagnetic disturbances that disrupt satellite services and knock out power grids.

This eruption will not cause major problems this weekend, as it is expected that the storm will be weak or minor when it touches the Earth.

CME was created by powerful solar flares that originated from sunspots. It erupted at 11.36 GMT Monday.

The Met Office stated that the auroral oval was likely to become slightly larger at higher latitudes between the 22nd and 24th of April due to coronal hole geomagnetic activity enhancement. There is also the possibility of weak coronal mass eruption arriving on the 23rd. 

In 2020 the Sun transitioned into its active phase, which already has resulted in increased solar storms and flares hitting the Earth. 

The peak will be around 2025. This is around when the ESA Solar Orbiter should fly within 26,000,000 miles of our star. 

MailOnline was told by the Met Office that there is a steady increase in solar activity. 

“This is because we are moving away from the solar minimum (late 2019/early2020) and toward the next solar maximum, which will be around mid-2025.

“Over the next few year we can expect increased solar activity with corresponding increases in spaceweather events affecting Earth, and the surrounding space environment.

The European Space Agency Space Weather Network reports that a variety of areas have been especially active over the past week. 

A solar storm can make the Northern Lights move further south when it is especially strong. An even in November could be visible to Devon.

As the Sun’s most active period approaches, it is likely that CMEs will become more powerful and Solar Flares will increase in intensity over the next few years.

The intense radiation from a solar flare results in the rapid release of magnet energy that is associated with sunspots, which are areas of the Sun’s surface that look dark. 

The Northern Lights are an Aurora, caused by charged particles from solar winds flung from our star, colliding with the Earth's magnetic field. Stock image

Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora, are caused by charged particle from solar wind, colliding with Earth’s magnet field. Stock photo


Solar Activity: Over the past 24hours, solar activity was moderate with many common class flares during the previous 24 hours and one moderate class flare. 

Although this flare could have caused a Coronal Mass Ejection, (CME), further investigation is needed to determine if it will affect Earth.  

There are currently 8 sunspot areas that have been analysed on the visible side.

Three sunspot areas in the Southwest quadrant are some of the most distinct regions. 

Two large sunspot areas have also recently been rotated onto this disc. 

Other regions are simple and small, with little flare activity. But, we will keep an eye out for developments.

Geomagnetic Activity/Solar Wind Solar winds have been elevated but steady throughout the past 24 hours.

It has shown a weakening of the total magnetic field, with the North-South component being particularly weak.

It has been quiet to unsettled in geomagnetic activities (Kp1-3).

SOURCEMet Office Space Weather

CMEs can also be caused by solar flares. Both types are solar storms. 

NASA says: “We usually see a sunspot caused by photons or light it emits, at almost all wavelengths of the spectrum. 

“X-rays, optical light and xrays are the primary methods we use to monitor flares. Flares also contain sites where protons, electrons and heavier particles are rapidly accelerated.

‘Flares are our solar system’s largest explosive events. They can be seen as areas of bright sunlight and last anywhere from minutes to several hours.

Officially, the Northern Lights are known as the Aurora borealis in Earth’s northern region and the Aurora Australis in South Africa.

Skygazers and scientists have been fascinated by the Northern Lights for hundreds of years, though it is not well-known science.    

Earth has an invisible forcefield, the magnetosphere, that protects us from dangerous charged particles from the Sun, controlled by the magnetic field.

Science expert Marty Jopson explains: ‘Whilst it shelters us, it also creates one of the most impressive phenomena on Earth – the Northern Lights.’ 

“When deadly solar winds collide with Earth’s magnetosphere some charged particles become trapped and are propelled straight to the poles by the Earth’s magnetic fields.

“And they hit Earth and strike the atoms, molecules, and release energy as light.    

Solar storms can disrupt our magnetic field, which in turn can impact satellites in orbit and navigation systems as well, and also affect data and communication networks and power grids.

The European Space Agency (ESA) states that while space weather can have an impact on Earth in the past, it is becoming more dependent upon systems and technology susceptible to Sun’s outbursts. Future solar impacts may be even worse.  


Both the Northern and Southern Lights, also called the “Auroras”, are natural light phenomena that occur in our atmosphere.

Two types of Aurora exist: Aurora Borealis (which means “dawn” in the north) and Aurora Australis (which is the “dawn” of the south).

The displays light up when electrically charged particles from the sun enter the Earth’s atmosphere. 

There are two types of Aurora - Aurora Borealis (file photo), which means 'dawn of the north', and Aurora Australis, 'dawn of the south.' The displays light up when electrically charged particles from the sun enter the Earth’s atmosphere

The Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis are the two kinds of Aurora. The displays light up when electrically charged particles from the sun enter the Earth’s atmosphere

Usually the particles, sometimes referred to as a solar storm, are deflected by Earth’s magnetic field.

They can also enter the atmosphere when they encounter stronger storms, where they collide with gas particles such as hydrogen and helium.

These collisions release light. Even though they can appear in many colors, the most popular are pale green and pink.