The Northern Lights are known as the Mirrie Dancers here in Shetland. And no wonder we have our own special name for them, we have the best seats in Britain for viewing this winter spectacular and they are a regular sight on clear, cold nights. If they cannot always be guaranteed, the night skies themselves give some of the best star gazing in the UK.

‘The Aurora is an incredible light show caused by collisions between electrically charged particles released from the sun that enter the earth’s atmosphere and collide with gases such as oxygen and nitrogen. The lights are seen around the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres.’

www.aurora-service.eu/aurora-school/aurora-borealis

From our local astronomer:  http://www.macastrofix.info/?q=node/32

But we, here in Shetland refer to them as the Merrie Dancers as this so well describes their flitting and flickering and if you think it is going too far to imbue the lights themselves with feelings, then I think it is fair to say that we ourselves are left astounded and humbled by their beauty. A pair of binoculars is must in Shetland, not only for night skies but for the bird and sea life you may wish to bring into clearer focus.

There is an informative page on shetland.org with beautiful images of the Merrie Dancers where you can see and read more. Or visit aurora.shetland on facebook to see more tantalizing images….. Who could resist?