Aurora Borealis

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Aurora Borealis Reviews

TrueScandinavian TrueScan…
2 reviews
​ Aurora Borealis Mar 02, 2017
I got the question on how to see the northern lights on Virtual Tourist, so often that I've made a standard answer:

I wish I had my own photos now, but the ones I have of the Northern Lights, I'm really not satisfied with. You just have to image google it.

Tips to see the Aurora Borealis

Go as far north as possible – The Northern lighs have their maximum around 65 degrees North (or south) That means that the chances of seeing the northern lights are better the farther closer you are to this latitude. Southern Sweden (Bellow Uppsala) and Southern Norway (bellow Trondheim) are generally not far enough.

Come in the winter – summer nights are long and light in the north. The Aurora borealis is there, but it’s not visible from earth during summer. You may see the lights sometimes during November to March, with the best months in the middle of that time period.

Choose a place with little or no human made lights – The light in the sky is mostly quite faint, so any distracting lights from the ground can ruin the experience.

Choose moonless nights. A full moon will be a brighter night. This is does not always hinder you to see the northern lights, it’s just that a new moon will increase your chances of seeing it clearly.

The best times of day will be from 22:00 to around 03:00 local time, with the best chances around midnight. Northern lights usually comes in bursts. If you’ve just seen a burst, your chances of seeing another burst will be greater within an hour or two.

Watch the weather forecast – If it’s cloudy you’ll haven’t got a chance.

Go inland – Inland weather is usually better as there is less cloudy.

Go for solar maximum – The lights are created by things that the sun throws away. The sun has a cycle of around 11 years in its activity. The more it is active, the more it throws away, and the more chances you’ll have. The Geophysical institute of Alaska University Fairbanks has a forecast service. The webpage for the forecast is http://www.gi.alaska.edu/AuroraForecast, and you’ll find forecasts for a few days ahead of time.

Be patient – Always a good thing.

For photographers: A tripod is an absolute must with the long shutter times you’ll have to have.

Other resources:

http://spaceweather.com/ Usually writes if there is something going on, or expected to happen.

http://www.aurorahunter.com/aurora-prediction.php for predicting when you might see the lights.

Local weather services:

Norway: http://www.yr.no. English translation on every page, and the forecasts are genereally thought to be very accurate. Also has weather forecasts for most of the world, but statistical data for only a few places outside Norway.

Sweden: http://www.smhi.se Swedish metrological service (the forecast pages are in Swedish only, but intuitive)

Canada: https://weather.gc.ca/

Alaska and the rest of the US: http://www.weather.gov/

Russia: http://www.meteoinfo.ru/ (English version sometimes work)
3 / 3 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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vicIII says:
Thanks for your advice, Jon!
Posted on: Aug 09, 2017
planxty says:
What an utterly comprehensive tip, Jon. Great bit of work.
Posted on: Mar 18, 2017
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