Unlikely locations to spot the Aurora Borealis this winter

Published on : Friday, November 11, 2016

northern-lightsIt is often said that the northern part of Norway is the best place in the world to see the Aurora Borealis. That is only partially true, as the lights can be just as visible from destinations outside of Norway.


Northern lights – those streaks of green, blue ripples and dancing purples in the skies – are caused by solar wind from the sun colliding with magnetic particles. Sweden’s Ice Hotel, glacial Iceland and the Arctic end of Norway are all excellent spots for catching the show. The top five unlikely locations to catch the Northern Lights are:


Galloway Forest Park, Scotland:

If it’s dark enough, on a crisp, clear winter night, you can see the Northern Lights almost anywhere in Scotland. It’s popular with astronomers, because, as well as the northern lights, it’s a great place for spotting shooting stars, the Andromeda Galaxy.


The Lake District:

2016 saw breathtaking sightings of the Northern Lights over the Lake District, with the best sightings being reported by stargazers in Derwent Water near Keswick, which has been a magnet for aurora fans for several years.


Kola Peninsula, Russia:

Brave the cold and base yourself in Murmansk, the largest Arctic city, near Russia’s border with Finland. The lights are visible from September to mid-April, and the area gets 40 days of uninterrupted night during the winter.


The South-West of England:

While you’re unlikely to see the Northern Lights from southern England’s larger towns, head into the countryside and you might strike it lucky. In early 2016 Oxfordshire hit the headlines for the unprecedented displays of purple and gold which appeared in the county’s starry skies, and parts of Cornwall even got in on the action, too.


Chena Hotsprings, Alaska:

Head up to the deepest part of Alaska between September and March and to catch the natural light show. Nightly trips from the Chena Hot Springs Resort leave at 10pm, and the yurt is 2,600ft up above sea level: because the higher your vantage point the better your chance of seeing the lights.

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