Northern lights seen from near ECN sites
The aurora results from activity on the surface of the Sun. Occasionally the Sun emits huge amounts of charged particles into space. These particles sometimes travel towards Earth where they are caught in the Earth's magnetic field and guided towards the polar regions.
The Earth's atmosphere slows the charged particles which then collide with gas molecules in the atmosphere. The energy released in these collisions is given off as light.
Although the aurora borealis (Northern Lights) are more commonly seen from higher latitudes, sightings from the UK are not uncommon.