Best Time for Northern Lights
Witnessing the phenomena of the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights is a highlight when visiting our Northern region in late Autumn, Winter and early Spring.
If your holiday is well planned, the answer is often yes. However, most people will appreciate that the Aurora is a natural phenomena, and part of their attraction lies in the fact that they cannot be controlled or even properly predicted. What we can do is to get you to the best locations at the right time. This may mean allowing for common weather patterns, and/or travelling either inland or out to the coast. It nearly always means getting you out of populated areas with light pollution, and into the exotic wilderness with plenty of great daytime activities to guarantee a memorable experience!
The period between November and March is generally the best time to see the Northern Lights. However, they can also be seen in late September, October and early April. Other times of year there is not enough darkness. October and November tend to see a lot of windy and wet weather, which of course means cloud cover and less chance to see the lights. Our favourite months are mid January, February & March, which means plenty of darkness in the peak viewing period between 6pm and midnight, and plenty of daylight to enjoy other winter activities. Check out the daily Aurora Sighting website here.
The ultimate energy source of the aurora is the solar wind flowing past Earth and touching its magnetic field. Aurora starts when explosions in the sun send off particles into space. These particles are charged and form the solar wind. When solar wind hits Earth’s magnetic field in the Polar areas where the magnetic shield is less powerful, it collides with particles in our atmosphere creating electricity and light. It is this light that we see as the Northern Light or Aurora Borealis.
The Aurora awed the ancient people. Aurora was the Roman goddess of the dawn. Boreas is a Greek word for the north wind – thus, the northern lights. The Finnish word for the lights, ‘revontulet’, comes from a Sami legend where the tail of a fox running on along the snow covered fells strikes the snow drifts and sends a trail of sparks high up to the sky. Revontulet literally means foxfires. The Vikings believed that the Aurora was a beautiful maiden called Valkyrias who escorted those killed in battle to the gods. The Sami people of Lapland also believed they had power over the lights, and whistling under them would cause them to come closer. Many ancient people would not stare at or speak of them, due to a fear of insulting their divinity.
Here is a link to a compelling website with daily aurora viewings.