Discovering the Northern Lights (at last!)

INTRODUCTION

Like many others, we had a burning desire to see the Northern Lights, Sitting at the top of our bucket list. An exploding light display bringing a sense of magic and wonder, truly a rare phenomenon. But were they easy to see? Not exactly! But did we get there in the end? YES! (4th time lucky!)

In order to experience this phenomenon, a number of things need to fall into place. It requires the correct location, time of the year, weather, a hint of science and a touch of luck. We got there in the end, and let me tell you it was worth it.

Now let’s get into how you can see them shall we?

1. WHAT IS THE AURORA BOREALIS? OR BETTER KNOWN AS – THE NORTHERN LIGHTS

The Aurora Borealis.. aka the Northern Lights, are one of the most spectacular occurrences that nature has to offer. Caused by a hint of science of course – charged particles from the sun, such as electrons and protons. When these charged particles collide with the earths magnetic field and with 2 gases in particular, oxygen and nitrogen, they produce colourful and vibrant light emissions. Or as we know it dancing waves or green, pink, purple and sometimes red across the night sky.

2. WHERE & WHEN CAN I SEE THE NOTHERN LIGHTS?

Where?

Now witnessing the northern lights does require venturing north. Your best chance of viewing the lights are found in the Arctic Circle.

  1. Iceland
  2. Norway
  3. Finland
  4. Sweden


All the above offer all the tools for a successful hunt : minimal light pollution, dark skies, and optimal geomagnetic conditions

When?

Typically late September to early April are seen as the peak months to maximise your chances of seeing the northern lights. This is due to the time of the year offering long, dark nights and an increase in geomagnetic activity.

3. OUR SUCCESS STORY – ONE NIGHT IN FINLAND

Check out our full article and guide of that night – but here it is in brief.

Our perfect ‘moment in time’ – of course top of our bucket list is the famous Northern Lights. We had always been fascinated by the wonders of the night sky dancing in all its colours. But nothing could have prepared us for the beauty and sheer magic of the show that the lights put on for us. A moment that quickly became our favourite ever.

Picked up from Rovaniemi to start our hunt. Driving spot to spot chasing a clear sky and some activity. Cold feet, hands. Driving north, north, further north. As the night turned to complete darkness, the further north we got meant that there was no light pollution and the stars began to multiply. But that was just the beginning.

At each stop, we would catch a slight glimpse of something, but not quite what we imagined a faint line here an there. We began to think maybe it wasn’t meant to be. One last stop our guide said as the metrics looked promising. We parked up in the van and Harry got out first. He couldn’t quite hold his excitement!

‘Quick Chance look’ – natures very own light show had begun and this was our moment in time to see it dance before our eyes.

4. VIEWING TIPS (EQUIPMENT, CLOTHING, STAY UP LATE, PATIENCE)

Now for some tips and equipment recommendations.
(From someone who’s tried four times!)

1. Dress warm – long waits and walking in remote spots. Snow, mountains lakes etc

2. Take a good camera – and also see THIS article

3. Extra Batteries – the cold makes batteries discharge more quickly

4. BE PATRIENT!

5. Good tour guide – It pays to hire an experienced tour-guide!

Summary – right location, time, check forecast, no light pollution.

trippytourers.com

Writer & Blogger

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Trippy tourers is a travel blog created by us…Harry & Chance. We are definitely tourers, tourers of life, ourselves and whatever the world has to offer. We can’t wait to share all of our experiences with you, so stick around for some of the most unique experiences, hotels and recommendations that we’ve encountered along the way.

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