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  • Writer's pictureJan Švamberg

Where to look for the Northern Lights in the sky

Suppose you're fortunate enough to witness a bright display of Aurora Borealis. In that case, the sparkling lights over your head can resemble many things. These may be pulses of jets, curtains, or other light-show features. Summer could be a fantastic season for a vacation in northern countries. But the period between autumn and spring is the best time to view the Northern Lights.

Only by sitting quietly beneath the Northern Lights can you enjoy the splendour and magnificence of this celestial spectacle. Thus, continue reading to learn where to see the Northern Lights in the sky and the source of this mesmerising show of light.

What are the Northern Lights?

When electrically charged particles from the sun travel through space and penetrate our Earth's atmosphere, this phenomenon is the Aurora. So, you can see the lights in the sky just above magnetic poles in both the northern & southern hemispheres.

In the northern hemisphere, you can call them the "Aurora Borealis," while in the southern hemisphere, you can address them as the "Aurora Australis."

Auroral displays in various colours, while green and pink are usually the most prevalent ones. There have been reports of colours such as yellow, red, and even blue & violet.

The collisions of different gas particles produce a wide range of colours — the many kinds of gas particles crashing against one another cause the colours to vary. Oxygen molecules approximately 100 kilometres (60 miles) above the planet's surface are responsible for producing the predominant auroral colour. This can also be described as a light green.

At altitudes of up to 320 kilometres, oxygen at very high levels can cause entirely red and extremely rare Auroras. And the Aurora Borealis can seem blue/purplish-red when nitrogen is present.

The lights can take on a variety of appearances. These include streaks or dispersed clouds of light, streamers, arcs, flowing curtains, or flying beams. The beams give off an eerie glow and light the night sky.

Best Places to See the Northern Lights

A clear sky and a low or nonexistent amount of light pollution are necessary for the finest views of the Northern Lights. Several prime viewing locations possess websites that have Aurora trackers. Also, some facilities personnel would wake guests as the lights began to show (if requested). Thus, keep reading to learn about some of the best places in the world from which you can view the dazzling Northern Lights.

Fairbanks, Alaska

Fairbanks' prime location underneath the Auroral Oval makes it among the best spots in the world to see the Northern Lights. Around the Earth's north magnetic pole is this ring-shaped zone, where the Aurora event is most prevalent. During the Aurora season (August 21–April 21), you have the chance to see the Northern Lights as the rest of the year doesn’t provide enough darkness for visible lights.

Tourists visiting throughout the late summer can also go gold panning/ ride the Riverboat Discovery. Also, at the North Pole, Santa Claus's home (13 miles southeast of Fairbanks) is a great place to spend the holidays.

Tromsø, Norway

Because of its location just above Arctic Circle, Tromso is one of the best places in Norway to watch the Aurora Borealis. Between September & late March, the northern part of the country experiences darkness beginning around early afternoon and lasting until morning hours. Thus, due to intense darkness, there will be more possibilities to view the Northern Lights.

Plus, if you need a break from gazing, the modern city of Tromso has many attractions to offer. These include the stunning Arctic Cathedral to keep you occupied. Besides Northern Lights Festival is the annual music & performing arts festival held in the city from the end of January until the beginning of February. So, Aurora hunters have their choice of multiple independent viewing tours. It could be a Kensington Tours' five-day guided Nordic trip or a thrilling husky trekking tour over the Arctic tundra.

Lapland, Finland

You can see the Northern Lights from Lapland on roughly 200 evenings yearly due to its location in the Arctic area of Northern Europe. Santa Claus, the native Sámi people, and an estimated 200,000 reindeer all call Finnish Lapland their home. Thus, Aurora hunters in northern Lapland can see lights on alternate clear nights from September to March.

Anytime between dusk and dawn, they could emerge and disappear just as swiftly. Hence, Santa's Igloos Arctic Circle near Luosto offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the Northern Lights from the comfort of a glass igloo. Around 72 miles to the north of Rovaniemi, in the scenic and hilly environment of Pyhä-Luosto National Park, lies this vacation town.

Orkney, Scotland

This charming collection of islands, off the coast of Scotland's far-flung northernmost region, is also one of the best locations to view the Aurora Borealis. The fall & winter months are the most fantastic times to view the Northern Lights, which you can also call the "Mirrie Dancers" in the local dialect. Evenings are often chilly this time of the year, and the sky is typically straightforward, providing excellent viewing conditions.

Orkney has stunning coastal vistas and much more sheep than you could count. Heart of Neolithic Orkney is a 5,000-year-old UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Where to look for the Northern Lights

The finest spots to view the Aurora Borealis are in locations that are located at high latitudes. Imagine you're somewhere close to the Arctic Circle.

The optimum viewing angles are achieved at latitudes around 68 degrees and 74 degrees north. It includes the country of Iceland. However, the northern areas of Norway, Finland, and Sweden are all excellent destinations to consider.

Also, in Canada, Alaska, and Greenland, travellers looking to see the Northern Lights might consider these countries.

And don't forget to keep your gaze pointed toward the north! If you want to see the Northern Lights, you should keep your attention pointed north. Since they are dancing along the electromagnetic bands close to the Arctic Circle. And in many cases, the lights dim and gradually become stronger during the event.

When there is very little Auroral activity, the sky will appear grey. Similar to the way that wispy clouds/fog move when the wind blows. So, if you are unaware of this fact, you may overlook them.

You can create long-exposure photographs by pointing your camera at the haze and pressing the shutter button (20 seconds). If somehow the "clouds" in your picture come out green, then they are not clouds! You're seeing something that resembles the Northern Lights, although it's not as strong.

Green is the hue of the Northern Lights that can be seen most frequently. On the other hand, if you are very fortunate, they might also be red, orange, or blue. The light’s colour depends on the type of atmospheric gasses colliding with particles from the Sun.

Get out of town

Light pollution is a significant obstacle in today's society when appreciating the night sky. Observing the Northern Lights follows the same pattern. Thus, you must get away first from bright lights illuminating the city and nearby towns. This significantly boosts your chances of spotting the lights.

Also, it allows you to spend the day seeing the area's cultural treasures while remaining in a less crowded place.

Furthermore, you have the option of reserving a room in the countryside. In this scenario, you could look up from your lodging and see the night sky directly above you.


In Nordic countries, the days are usually short during the winter months, while the nights seem dark and long. In addition to the mouthwatering meals and invigorating saunas, the Northern Lights are among the top fascinating natural phenomena you see during this year's season.

The Aurora Borealis is a natural phenomenon in the atmosphere and is considered the Holy Grail in sky watching. Hence, if witnessing this natural wonder is high on your bucket list, ensure you know all about it before hunting the Northern Lights.


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