Marvel at the Northern Lights

Seeing the Northern Lights is on a lot of bucket lists. It’s one of the most insanely beautiful things in this world. Many people assume that to see them they have to travel out of the UK. But that’s not the case! If you’re dying to see the Northern Lights, it is time to plan a trip to Ness Walk in Inverness in the autumn and winter months. Staying with us means you can head out towards the East Coast or slightly further North to see this wonderful sight.

What are the Northern Lights?

There are two auroras, the aurora borealis (the Northern Lights) and the aurora australis (the southern lights). They can only be seen near the northern and southern poles of the planet. Both of them have been the source of inspiration, fear, and wonder for as long as humans have known they existed.

Caused by movement on sun, the aurora borealis is the result of solar storms on the sun’s surface giving out clouds of electrically charged particles. When these particles travel away from the sun, some get caught in our planet’s magnetic field, where they accelerate down toward the north and south poles and into the atmosphere. The particles’ heart atoms and molecules in the atmosphere is a process scientists call ‘excitation’ creating the aurora’s iconic glow.

A view of the Northern Lights reflected in water

Can you see the Northern Lights from Inverness?

The Scottish Highlands sit on the same latitude as some of the popular Northern Lights tourist spots. Unfortunately, the light pollution actually in Inverness makes it a little difficult. However, if you head towards the East Coast or slightly further north to darker areas to see them. We can give you some guidance on the best places to go to see the Northern Lights when you stay with us in Inverness.

Whether or not you will be able to spot the Northern Lights when you’re staying in Scotland depends on a few things. First of all, as with anywhere that boasts sights of the spectacular natural phenomenon, the presence of the aurora depends entirely on solar activity. You will also need to be in Inverness between September and April in order to get a chance to see the aurora borealis.

How to see the Northern Lights

If you’re planning a trip to the Inverness area to spot the Northern Lights, there are a few things that you need to know to increase your chances. The first, and arguably most important thing to note is that you must visit between September and April. In these autumn, winter, and spring months, there is a much higher chance of you catching the Northern Lights in Inverness.

Once you’ve booked your trip, there are a few things that you should do next. You can use the AuroraWatch UK website to help you track solar activity; this will help you decide which days during your stay are going to be the best for stargazing. Once you’ve got your nights sorted, check the weather. The Scottish autumnal and winter weather is fairly consistent. Moreover, a crisp wind and dramatic scenery are guaranteed. But to see the Northern Lights in Inverness, you will need to have little to no cloud coverage. A clear day is key to seeing the aurora.

Lanscape and northern lights

So, once you’ve picked your night, the next step is to pick your location. The location you pick can play a big part in whether you can see the aurora borealis here in the UK. The best places to choose are somewhere dark, with hardly any light pollution – that’s why the areas towards the East Coast and north of Inverness are so perfect for Northern Lights spotting! Obviously, in Inverness itself, there is a little too much light pollution. But have a word with us when you are here and we can tell you the best places to go. On rare occasions, the Northern Lights are just visible on the outskirts of Inverness.

How to make the most out of the Northern Lights

Seeing the Northern Lights in the Inverness area will be truly magical. But there are a few steps that you can take to make the experience even better. The first step we recommend to anyone looking to spend time in the Scottish Highlands is to dress accordingly. In the dark, you’re bound to be a little chilly.

It might also be worth taking some blankets for yourself and whoever you’re with. These can be used to make seats or to keep you warm as the night goes on. Alternatively, camping seats can be a great way to keep you comfy. Snacks and drinks will also go a long way to keeping you comfortable!

Person in a camping chair in warm clothes

How to photograph the Northern Lights

As with any nighttime photography, it can be really hard to get the photos we really want. Especially if you’re just using a mobile phone! But that’s not to say it’ll be impossible for you to take a photo of the Northern Lights in Inverness. The best way to do it is to have your phone landscape, turn off your flash, and select night mode. You want the picture to be as big as your phone allows. And your exposure will need to be between 2 and 15 seconds. For more advice, take a look here.

When you are ready to book your trip to see aurora borealis here in the UK, give us a call. Or check out our special offers.

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