A strong geomagnetic storm which could affect power grids, GPS systems, satellites and airline flights, could result in the northern lights shining over Ireland today.

Scientists have reported that a massive X-5 solar flare caused a storm made up of cloud charged particles which were flung from the Sun at around 4.5 million miles per hour. Making it the strongest such event in almost six years.

Astronomy Ireland said there was a strong chance the the Aurora Borealis (northern lights) will be visible from Ireland. They advised areas on the periphery of towns or cities or dark parkland areas are best suited for viewing.

David Moore of Astronomy Ireland said: “there is a significant chance that the Aurora Borealis (northern lights) will be visible from Ireland. If it appears, the aurora will have a faint glow and, if the activity is particularly strong, it may have a green and/or red color”.

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Moore explained: “The aurora will most likely be visible just over the northern horizon, but a strong display can result in the aurora being visible all over the sky,” he added.“Earth is expected to be hit by the resulting coronal mass ejection (CME). This cloud of energised gas is expected to trigger auroral displays all over the world, including Ireland, tonight (Thursday) night and tomorrow (Friday)morning.

The increase in the number of X-class flares is a part of the sun’s normal 11-year solar cycle.

In late January spectators in Donegal enjoyed a rare glimpse of the Northern Lights along the North Coast.

Watch the RTE news report Aurora Borealis over Ireland in January: