The Northern Lights have lit up the night sky with rare sightings across the county.

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

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.

READ MORE: Winchester and Romsey Northern Lights - best photos

Hampshire Chronicle: Basingstoke Northern Lights by Mihaela Ardei

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

In the northern hemisphere, most of this activity takes place within a band known as the aurora oval, covering latitudes between 60 and 75 degrees.

When activity is strong, this expands to cover a greater area – which explains why displays can be occasionally seen as far south as the UK.

Click the gallery at the top to see the best photos from across Hampshire.