On this page I will tell you all what you need to know about the Aurora: where does it come from, when and how to forecast it.

I hope that it will help you see it! The page is still currently under construction.

Where is Aurora visible?

Aurora is most frequently visible north of the Arctic Circle (or South of the Antarctic Circle), which is approximately 66° of latitude. In the northern hemisphere, this means that Aurora is visible in the north of Finland, Norway, Sweden, Russia, Canada and in Alaska and Iceland. During stronger events, Aurora is visible further south, for example in Scotland or the northern tier of the US states.

To simplify this article, we will not mention further the southern hemisphere. There are no inhabited landmasses there where Aurora can be observed as frequently as in the northern hemisphere. Note though that you can sometimes observe Aurora, low above the south horizon, in the southern parts of Australia and New Zealand.

When is Aurora visible?

Aurora can be visible throughout the year. Nevertheless, in summer high latitudes experience midnight sun. There are then several days or weeks during which the sun never sets. This makes it impossible to see the Aurora! For latitudes above the Arctic circle, this means that Aurora is visible from late August / early September until early April.

Northern Lights at the lake in summer in the south of Finland
I photographed this Aurora at the end of summer at a latitude of “only” 60°N.

What is Aurora activity?

Aurora appears when particles from the solar wind collide with the earth’s magnetosphere. The sun’s activity evolves with a period of 11 years. This means that every 11 years, there is a peak in the sun’s activity, sending more of these solar wind particles into space. As a result, every 11 years, there is also a peak in Aurora activity. It is estimated that the peak of the current solar cycle occurred in 2013/2014 and the activity is now in the decline. Nevertheless, decline is usually rather slow and Aurora will remain visible for the coming years!

Also note that once you are near the Arctic circle, only a very slight activity can sparkle beautiful Auroras. This means that even during the lowest parts of the cycle, Auroras can be observed.

Very powerful display of Aurora in Finnish Lapland
Despite the fact that the solar maximum was a couple of years ago, there are still very powerful displays near the Arctic Circle (January 2016).

How to photograph the Aurora?

Check out my Aurora photography tutorial.

Stay tuned for a more detailed update of this page!

Check out this site for the most up to date forecasts!

 

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