Aurora Borealis – The Northern Lights, are a natural phenomenon of epic magnitude. To witness natures most majestic light show, it is necessary to get away from streetlights and villages to the northern regions of Scandinavia, Alaska and Canada.
The Northern Lights, on very rare occasions, are actually visible to the naked eye from any part of the globe as the sun is setting, but knowing when to see the Northern Lights isn’t that simple! The Aurora occurs when solar wind collides with the magnetic forces of the earth’s atmosphere creating vivid and lucid lights in the sky. Conditions should be clear cloudless sky, with little moonlight, and far away from disturbing city lights.
Rainbow coloured beams of light strobe across the night sky sending myriads of colours everywhere, as they bounce off pure white illuminated snow, into a black sapphire sky.
The small Finnish village of Saariselka in Northern Lapland is a popular place to see the Northern Lights. It is a good idea to plan a trip to Mt. Kaunispaa to witness the spectacle.
In southern Finland, September and October are better than weeks around Christmas to view the Northern Lights but there’s not a huge difference between October and March when you travel this far north, as Winter is very dark.
Oulanka National Park in the far north of Finland is another very good place to witness the aurora lights. You will also get to experience the gloriously rugged terrain of Finlands landscape in this region.
Another great spot in Finland is Kilpisjarvi in the north-west which gets spectacular shows as there is very little light pollution up there. Autumn months in the north-west are usually more cloudy than early spring so try to plan accordingly.
Abisko National Park in Swedish Lapland is often claimed to be one of the best places on earth to go and see the Northern Lights. There is a mountain station in Abisko which hosts travellers and claims to have the most spectacular shows of the Northern Lights on the planet.
Fairbanks in Alaska is in the middle of the ‘aurora oval’ where the green, red, blue and violet lights make the most colourful appearances. The best time to make a trip here is from December until March, when the sky is at its clearest.
Southern Iceland hosts some pretty cool hotels where you can relax and watch the lights from naturally heated outdoor hot tubs. With volcanoes, mountains and glaciers in the backdrop, Iceland is an excellent place to visit and watch the amazing Northern Lights.
There are plenty of cruises that sail up Norway’s spectacular coastline which will give you great views of the dramatic fjords as well as the aurora borealis.
The Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard is well inside the Arctic Circle and a brilliant place to see Northern Lights.
Yukon is the most westerly territory of Canada. Serene, surreal and incredibly beautiful, this is an excellent place to see the Northern Lights. The best time to visit is between September and April, but January to March is the period you are most likely to encounter the aurora in this region.
Aurora-gazers have the best chances to witness during the spring and fall equinox, so anytime around September 22, 2013 and March 20, 2014 are your best bet to get a great show.