THE northern lights were snapped over the skies near Kidderminster in a rare display which wowed stargazers.

Steve Carrigan captured the scene in Shenstone as the stunning display of greens, purples and pinks lit up the skies of Britain and Ireland earlier this week.

He described it as an "amazing show" as he shared the photos on social media.

The colourful aurora, created by high-speed electrically charged particles from space colliding with gas molecules in Earth's upper atmosphere, is typically visible near the Earth's magnetic poles.

However, occasionally it can be seen in the night sky over Britain.

Kidderminster Shuttle: An incredible shot of the northern lightsAn incredible shot of the northern lights (Image: Steve Carrigan)

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A Met Office spokesperson said the rare sightings of the aurora borealis further south in the UK were due to the “strength” of a geomagnetic storm and cloudless skies.

Royal Museums Greenwich explains on its website that the lights are caused by solar storms on the surface of the sun giving out clouds of electrically charged particles which can travel millions of miles and collide with the Earth.

Most particles are deflected away but some are captured in the Earth’s magnetic field and accelerate down towards the north and south poles, colliding with atoms and molecules in the Earth’s atmosphere, according to the observatory.

The lights are the product of this collision between atoms and molecules from the Earth’s atmosphere and particles from the sun.