Northern Lights: Friends mistake hotel display for aurora spectacle in viral video

Northern Lights Friends mistake hotel display for aurora spectacle in viral video
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Two university students were “catfished” into mistaking the purple glow of a Premier Inn hotel for the Northern Lights.

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Karim Akhtar, 22, and Sully Laurent, 21, were walking home from a night out in Norwich when they saw the purple hue in the night sky.

The pair could be seen laughing and talking excitedly while looking at the glow – but soon realised it came from a nearby hotel.

“We’ve been catfished. I thought it was the Northern Lights”, one of them said in a video posted online – which has racked up over six million views.

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The pair had visited Iceland in January hoping to see the Northern Lights and joked that they were disappointed to have “missed them again”.

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The pair could be seen laughing and talking excitedly while looking at the glow (TikTok)

“The reaction to the video has been crazy. I didn’t expect it to be so popular,” Mr Akhtar, a University of East Anglia pharmacology student from Liverpool, told the BBC.

“For sure we thought it was the Northern Lights. You can tell by my reaction. It’s certainly a good start to my TikTok career,” he added.

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The rare phenomena could be seen throughout the UK and as far south as France on Friday and Saturday night following a severe solar storm last week.

It was the first time since 2003 that a category G5 geomagnetic storm was recorded – the highest level on the space weather scale – signalling extreme activity on the surface of the Sun.

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The strong solar flares originated from a large sunspot cluster roughly 17 times larger than Earth, with the frequency of sunspots expected to increase as the Sun’s 11-year activity cycle reaches a peak at some point in 2024 or 2025.

It turned out the display came from a nearby Premier Inn hotel (TikTok)

Images showed bands of red, purple and lime green illuminating the sky above Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags in Holyrood Park, Edinburgh.

Further south, over St Mary’s Lighthouse in Whitley Bay on the northeast coast of England, locals flocked to the beaches to glimpse the spectacular lights there.

And in Liverpool, the lights could be seen behind Anthony Gormley’s Another Place statue.

The lights were also seen across Europe and North America. Images showed flashes of purple and pink over Lake Balaton near Fonyod, Hungary.

A Premier Inn spokesperon said: “There’s no need to search the skies, Premier Inn is a beacon of light and can bring the Auora glow directly to your room, without needing a camera to see it.

“Rest easy under the enchanting purple glow of our light up headboards, knowing that you can experience this wonder every night of the year from the luxury of one of our comfy beds”.



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