Many parts of the country received a rare view of the Northern Lights last weekend, with incredible colours lighting up the skies.

The lights were present across many counties on Friday night (May, 10) and although visibility was affected by cloud cover, they could be seen once again on Saturday night (May 11).

The Northern Lights are best observed in locations with very small amounts of light pollution, away from cities and towns.

We got in touch with our readers to send their photos of the scenes captured on-farm.

According to Met Éireann, the colour of the Northern Lights change due to the type of gas particles that are colliding.

As the Sun rotates, particles are ejected through holes in its magnetic field.

These charged particles make up the solar wind and this wind carries the free particles towards the Earth’s atmosphere.

Image source: Sandra Stolker

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the US issued the rare geomagnetic storm watch for the first time over the weekend since January 2005.

According to the NOAA, several strong flares were observed over a number of days and were associated with a large and magnetically complex sunspot cluster, which is 16 times the diameter of Earth.

Image source: Barbara O’Brien

For the Northern Lights to be visible, oxygen molecules at approximately 100km above the earth produce a greenish-yellow colour, while a red aurora can be seen when high level oxygen molecules are involved, according to Met Éireann.

Blue or purple auroras indicate the presence of nitrogen molecules.

Parts of the west and north coast would offer the greatest chance of seeing the display.