Parts of the UK have been treated to spectacular light shows caused by a huge solar flare with the energy of a billion hydrogen bombs, UK scientists have said.

The largest solar flare for more than 12 years – and the eighth-largest since modern records began in 1996 – erupted from the sun on Wednesday and has been captured in high detail by a team of researchers.

The massive burst of radiation, one of three so called X-category flares observed over a 48-hour period, continues to produce spectacular aurora displays across northern latitudes, including northern England and Scotland.

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