Pictures of the year: weather
September 30, 2014: The Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) shimmer in the sky over a mountain camp near the Norwegian village of Mestervik, north of the Arctic CircleYannis Behrakis/Reuters

To mark St Patrick's Day 2015, astronomers are preparing to broadcast the Aurora Borealis live online from Iceland.

A livestream of the Northern Lights will be shown from 10pm GMT by astronomers using the Slooh Telescope.

The display comes ahead of the total eclipse on 20 March, which will see parts of Europe plunged into darkness for two minutes as the sun is obscured by the moon.

"On the road to the Faroe Islands and the total solar eclipse, Slooh expedition team will be making a stop to image the Northern Lights in Iceland, considered one of the best locations to catch a view of the incredible, shimmering aurorae.

"On St. Patrick's Day, 17 March, Slooh will be putting on a live show broadcasting these notoriously green lights."

Aurora Borealis is a natural phenomenon where charged particles – mostly electrons and protons – enter the atmosphere from above, causing ionisation and excitation of atmospheric constituents.

The lights are seen above the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres – in the south they are known as Aurora Australis.

"Auroral displays appear in many colours although pale green and pink are the most common," the Northern Lights Centre notes. "Shades of red, yellow, green, blue, and violet have been reported. The lights appear in many forms from patches or scattered clouds of light to streamers, arcs, rippling curtains or shooting rays that light up the sky with an eerie glow.

Watch the Northern Lights live online below: