Northern Lights: Nature’s Light Show

Scotland

The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis are a spectacular natural light show that can be seen in the North of Scotland and Northern islands including: Orkney, Shetland and the Outer Hebrides. The best time to see the Northern Lights is January, but you can also see them on cold, clear nights in autumn and winter.

Sit-back and enjoy this spectacular video of the Northern Lights.

Caused by solar wind from the sun colliding with magnetic particles in the Earth’s atmosphere, the end result is truly spectacular. The resulting colours reflect which gases we find up there, the most usual yellow-green colour coming from oxygen. Red colouring is also due to oxygen with a contribution from nitrogen. The violet we often see at the lower edge of the aurora is due to nitrogen, as is most blue colouring. The charged particles originate from the sun, and it is the ‘weather’ conditions on the sun that decide whether or not we will see the aurora. If the aurora intensifies, you could potentially see arcs as well as rays or curtains of different colours which dart around the night sky.

The Northern Lights featured in Bill Forsyth’s 1983, film, ‘Local Hero’.


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