Best Places to See the Northern Lights
From September to April you can watch the Northern Lights in Norway, Iceland, Finland, Sweden and Greenland.
Where to see the Northern Lights in the Nordic countries
The further north you travel in the Nordic countries to the Lapland region of Finland, Sweden and Norway, the better is the chances of watching the Northern Lights. Also, Iceland and Greenland are popular destinations that are close to the Arctic Circle at 66 degrees north latitude.
The official Aurora season is from September until April, but like with so many other things that have to do with nature, it’s not something you can say with any certainty. The ideal conditions to see them are when it’s cold and dark outside and the Northern Lights activity are high. The sky has to be clear, which it usually is on cold nights.
See more: The Ultimative Northern Light Guide
Best places to watch the Northern Lights
Norway (September - April)
See more: About Northern Lights in Norway
Finland (September - March)
See more: About Northern Lights in Finland
Sweden (September - March)
See more: About Northern Lights in Sweden
Iceland (September - April)
All Iceland, but best in the countryside
Greenland (September - March)
When to experience the Northern Lights
Though it is theoretically to see the Northern Lights year-round, it`s much easier to see in the dark winter months.
The best time to watch the Northern Lights is from September to March, although its appearance is unpredictable. The days around the full moon are not conducive to viewing the Northern Lights because it gets to light.
Sometimes, the lights flare up for a brief moment only, at other times a fortunate watcher may enjoy the spectacle for several hours. The best time to catch the Northern Lights is just before midnight, but this remains a matter of luck, and no reliable forecasts are possible to give.
Here are some tips about what to do in the daytime. The Northern lights are visible only during the hours of darkness, so the local operators offer many activities as dog-sledging, snowmobiling, whale tours, skiing and snowshoeing.
What is the Northern Light
The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, are one of Earth’s most stunning natural displays. This natural phenomenon can be seen across the Arctic Circle from early autumn to early spring. If you go to discover the Northern Lights, you must be patient, and a celestial light show is not a promise, but it`s worth the wait.
The magical dancing curtain of colour seen on some cloudless nights will cause when solar flares enter our atmosphere and chances are increasing by low light pollution and a longer stay.
In the northern part of the Nordic region, you find the best places in the world to watch the Northern Lights. The Lights dance across the sky in marvellous colours. Seeing the Northern Lights is almost impossible to describe, and it is one of the fantastic nordic natural highlight experience.
5 facts about the Northern Lights
- The Northern Lights are particles that are hurled into space after storms on the sun’s surface. They are attracted by the magnetic Poles south and north of the earth
- The best places to see the Northern Lights are above the arctic circle, making the Northern part of the Nordic countries ideal for watching the Northern Lights
- The Northern Lights are most visible between November and March when the sky is dark and bright and also depending on the Northern Lights activity
- The best places to spot the Northern Lights are away from the lights of the city centres where the nights are darker
- The best time is from 6 pm to 2 am. The Lights can be visible for some minutes or more hours
Why called Aurora Borealis
The name "Aurora Borealis" was given by a French philosopher ”Pierre Gassendi” in 1621. The inspiration comes in two parts, as ”Aurora” is a Roman goddess of dawn, and ”Borea” is an ancient Greek name for the north wind. It means that Aurora Borealis means ”the dawn of the north”.
Why is it possible to watch the Northern Lights
The Northern lights are visible from the far north of the Nordic countries, Alaska and northern parts of Canada.
But what are the Northern Lights? The Northern Lights are a result of interactions between charged particles from the sun and air atoms high in the atmosphere. The air lights up when large numbers of electrically charged particles with a high-speed stream in towards the Earth along its magnetic field and collide with the highest air particles.
Most Northern Lights occur between 90 and 130 km above sea level, but some extend to several hundred kilometres up. Therefore it is possible to watch it at horizontal distances of several hundred kilometres.
The reason why it is possible to watch this natural phenomenon in the Nordic countries is that the strength of the earth`s magnetic field is stronger near the poles. The lights are generally green, but they can be many other colours and can move or shimmer.
Why the different colours
The colour of the Northern lights depends on which gas (oxygen or nitrogen) is being excited by the electrons. Nitrogen gives a blue light and oxygen emits either a greenish-yellow light. The blending of these colours can also produce purples, pinks and white. There is also ultraviolet light that only can be seen by a special camera and not by the human eye.