AURORA-WATCHERS have been rewarded with a spectacular display of the Northern Lights in dark spots across the country.

Members of The Glasgow Times Camera Club, The National's sister paper, were keen to photograph the rare sighting - and managed to capture amazing pictures.

The photographers took shots from East Kilbride to Loch Lomond and Ayrshire, between 10am and 1am last night.

The National: Gerry Doherty - Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National ParkGerry Doherty - Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park

The National: Claire M McBride - East KilbrideClaire M McBride - East Kilbride

VisitScotland explains that the spectacle is named after Aurora (the Roman goddess of dawn) and Boreas (the Greek name for north wind), and is caused by charged particles accelerated into the Earth's upper atmosphere along magnetic field lines.

The energy to drive the display is provided by the sun, in the form of a "solar wind". The sun may be millions and millions of miles away, but it is the reason we see the extraordinary sight.

The National: John MacMaster -The Pencil LargsJohn MacMaster -The Pencil Largs

The National: Mik Coia - PortencrossMik Coia - Portencross

The National: Peter Watkins - Fairlie Peter Watkins - Fairlie

Aurorae come in all colours, shapes and patterns, setting the night sky alive with rainbows of light.

The variations in colour are due to the type of gas particles that are colliding, from yellowish-greens, blues and purples, to fiery reds and oranges.

The National: Stevi Jackson - Just far enough away from GlasgowStevi Jackson - Just far enough away from Glasgow

The National: Robin Morton - BowmoreRobin Morton - Bowmore

The streaks that snake across the night sky evolve and change constantly, and can last minutes or merely seconds.