Yorkshire northern lights: Where are the best places to view the northern lights in Yorkshire and what are the optimal weather conditions for best viewings?
The weather phenomenon can occasionally be seen in the night sky over Britain. The northern lights, also known as aurora borealis, appear as large chunks of colour including pale green, pink, shades of red, yellow, blue and violet in the direction due north, according to the Met Office.
The northern lights are best viewed in darkness, away from any light pollution and the lights generally expand from 50 miles to as high as 400 miles before above the Earth’s surface. They occur as a result of solar activity and and as a consequence from collisions of charged particles in the solar wind colliding with molecules in the Earth’s upper atmosphere.
It depends on which gas molecules are hit and where they are in the environment; different amounts of energy are released as different wavelengths of light. Oxygen gives off green light when it is hit 60 miles above the Earth, whilst at 100-200 miles are rare, red auroras are produced and nitrogen reveals a glow blue in the sky yet when higher in the atmosphere the glow has a purple hue. The video and image from Mohammad Saleh shows the northern lights captured over Roundhay Park in Leeds.
Where are the best locations in Yorkshire to view the northern lights?
Mainly the northern lights are best observed in Scotland, North England, North Wales and Northern Ireland. However, under severe space weather conditions, the lights can be seen throughout the whole of the country.
The best weather conditions to view the lights are when the sky is dark and clear of any clouds. Clouds cover the view of the light; ideally, the lights will be best seen away from any light pollution, in remote areas, facing the northern horizon.
So areas in Yorkshire may include countryside, fields, Yorkshire Dales, North York Moors as well as coastal areas such as the North Yorkshire coast. North facing coasts produce some of the best viewing locations.
The northern lights are most active during the Equinox and Solstice in March/April and September/October.
Tips for viewing the aurora borealis
The Met Office has listed some tips for how to best spot the lights.
- You need a clear night with no cloud cover
- Find a dark location with no light pollution
- Look toward the northern horizon
- Be cautious that geomagnetic activity can cause disturbances to satellite navigation (GNSS/GPS etc)