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).

Dorset Echo: 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.”

Dorset Echo: 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.

Dorset Echo: 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.

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.”

Dorset Echo: 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.

Dorset Echo: 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."

Dorset Echo: 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.

Dorset Echo: 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.’

Dorset Echo: Northern Lights at Portland LighthouseNorthern Lights at Portland Lighthouse (Image: Dan Sands Photography)

Dan Sands also shared this incredible photo of Portland Lighthouse to the Echo's Camera Club.

He said: "I could see the Aurora with my naked eye in the middle of a built up area on the South coast of Britain. Something I never in a million years thought would be possible.

"I stood in awe watching the pillars dance across the sky, it really took my breath away and I was almost in tears at one point.

"You'll likely see floods of images from all over the UK today, and to think that so many photographers (and non photographers alike) have witnessed this rare phenomenon is incredible.

"If you missed out, don't worry, the sub storm is still active and it's predicted to last until just after dark so you might get another chance tonight."

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