Northern Lights in the UK – The Best Photos of Aurora Lights

28th Feb 2023
Northern Lights in the UK – The Best Photos of Aurora Lights

On Sunday night, the Northern Lights were seen as far south as Kent and Cornwall in the UK.  You could also observe the sightings in Norfolk, southern Wales, and Northern Ireland.

The Northern Lights, or as it is also called, Aurora Borealis, are frequently visible in Scotland, but it’s a rare show for southern England. Northern lights were also captured on camera over Stonehenge in Wiltshire.

Many talented photographers and lucky ones managed to take incredible images of the Aurora Lights across the UK. The Orbital Today team has gathered some fascinating photos.

Northern Lights in the UK 2023
Incredible display at Knowlton Church, Dorset.
Image Credit: @Robin_Goodlad via Twitter 
northern lights England
Haddenham, Cambridgeshire
Image Credit: @VeronicaJoPo via Twitter
aurora borealis Britain
The northern lights are reflected on the water at Ullapool in Wester Ross, northern Scotland
Image Credit: @TheShell201019 via Twitter
Northern Lights last night UK
The aurora lights over the Hebrides in Scotland
Image Credit: @itshannahlclose via Twitter

What causes the Aurora Light that is seen across the UK?

The solar wind, which the Sun constantly expels in all directions at a speed of between 300 and 500 kilometres per second, is made up of electrically charged particles.

Our planet catches a small portion of the solar wind’s particles as it revolves around the Sun. Electrically charged particles from the Sun interact with oxygen and nitrogen in the upper atmosphere of the Earth when they enter at a very high speed, causing them to radiate green and red light above our poles.

northern lights UK 2023
Aurora at Ardmore, Armagh
Image Credit: @savbrown via Twitter

The magnetic field of the Earth redirects around 98% of these particles into deep space. The North and South magnetic poles of the Earth are the destination of a small percentage of particles that leak through the Earth’s magnetic field. That’s when we see Northern Light or Aurora Borealis.

What causes the Northern Light
What causes the Aurora Light

Charged particles from a powerful solar flare that was aimed at Earth during the past few days entered our atmosphere on Sunday night.

When can you see Northern Lights in the UK?

Various websites and organisations, like the UK’s Met Office, keep an eye on the Sun and provide a forecast for the upcoming day or even week. To make sure you are prepared for any celestial light displays, keep tracking the information published there, or you can use apps like AuroraWatch UK, which also provides half-hourly aurora forecasts.

Scotland northern lights
Wonderful Aurora Borealis as it is seen above the Callanish Stones, Scotland.
Image Credit: @CallanishDD via Twitter

What is the best way to see the Northern Light in the UK?

Being under or near one of the auroral ovals will increase your chances of witnessing the lights. There are many things to take into account when searching for the Northern Lights, but your chances of seeing them increase as we cruise closer to the Arctic Circle.

The Aurora must be visible in dark, clear skies with as little light pollution as possible, and high-latitude areas near the Arctic, like Svalbard, are typically the greatest places to watch them.

Recently, you could also enjoy a rare phenomenon of Jupiter and Venus conjunction around the globe.

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