Met Office speaks out as Mancunians baffled by mysterious purple glow illuminating the sky

Mancunians were left pondering as a mysterious purple glow emerged in the sky last night. Residents posted on social media about seeing an unusual light above the streets, and shared images with the Manchester Evening News from around Greater Manchester.

The strange colour was spotted in the Boothstown, Worsley and Walkden areas of Salford, as well as above Prestwich, Whitefield and Heywood. It made for some stunning images, with the phenomenon giving a dramatic backdrop to Thursday evening (December 7) for many.

There was confusion as people speculated about the cause of the unusual glow, which was reported at various times between 7pm and 10pm. Some suggested it could have been reflections from the current festive light shows at RHS Bridgewater and Heaton Park.

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Others questioned if it was the famed Northern Lights making an unlikely appearance. But a phenomenon seen in Wales earlier yesterday could point towards a far less exciting explanation.

Earlier in the evening, a pink sky had been seen above parts of south Wales during sunset, including in Cardiff. Dan Stroud, Met Office forecaster and meteorologist, told WalesOnline how the colour was caused by more humid conditions than usual.

Michael Connaughton captured the glow above Heaton Park reservoir, in Prestwich, at 8pm last night(Image: Michael Connaughton)

“In humid conditions the water vapor in the air adheres to the particles in the air,” he said. “The additional water bulks up the particle and essentially blocks light to pass through.”


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