Dorset residents were left in awe at the ‘breath-taking’ Northern Lights which shone over the county last night.

The visibility of the Northern Lights was increased on Friday night because of an ‘extreme’ geomagnetic storm, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: 1806882718068827 (Image: Ming Mok)

Emily Henson was near Dorchester when she saw the spectacle.

She said: “It was absolutely beautiful, there are not enough words to describe it other than simply breath-taking. There was such a buzz in the air and you could hear everyone’s excitement. I am so grateful that I got to experience it.

“It was just after 11pm when you could really begin to see the colour with the naked eye.”

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Vibrant colours near DorchesterVibrant colours near Dorchester (Image: Emily Henson)

The NOAA said the G5 geomagnetic storm, which is considered extreme and is the strongest level of geomagnetic storm, hit earth on Thursday and could affect communications, GPS and power grids.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Olympic Rings, PortlandOlympic Rings, Portland (Image: Josh Rickards)

The cause of this storm is a ‘large, complex’ sunspot cluster and is 17 times the diameter of earth, with the last storm with a G5 rating hitting earth in October 2003, causing power outages in Sweden.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Lyme RegisLyme Regis (Image: Helen Bailey)

Lee Boucher captured some stunning images of the sight, saying: “It was an amazing display at Knowlton Church last night, I have never seen so many people there.”

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Skies over Knowlton ChurchSkies over Knowlton Church (Image: Lee Boucher)

Met Office spokesman Stephen Dixon said on Friday there was a good chance for the Northern Lights to be seen.

He said: "Although the shorter nights will limit the visibility window, there's a good chance to see the aurora, particularly on Friday night and especially in Scotland, Ireland and parts of northern England and Wales.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Northern Lights from PortlandNorthern Lights from Portland (Image: Kieran Collins)

"There could even be visibility further south if you have the right equipment.

"Those conditions could continue on Saturday night but we still have to work out some details on where exactly that will be."

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Sighting in Cerne AbbasSighting in Cerne Abbas (Image: Jess Williams)

Mr Dixon said the combination of clear skies and enhanced activity from the sun reaching Earth would improve the chances of seeing the display.

Aurora displays occur when charged particles collide with gases in the Earth's atmosphere around the magnetic poles.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Views across DorchesterViews across Dorchester (Image: Sarah Stockham)

Sarah Stockham shared here photos of the Northern Lights to the Echo’s Camera Club, describing the rare sighting as ‘magical.’

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: BridportBridport (Image: Kyle Veitch)

Check out more images in our interactive gallery at the top of the page.