Your Guide to Tracking Down the Amazing Northern Lights

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Tracking Down the Amazing Northern Lights

The Northern Lights are a sight to behold. Imagine yourself in the Arctic night, cliffs visible across the sea, silhouetted by the vibrant, unearthly green lights of the Aurora Borealis whirling through the sky. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen in your life. Here is a guide for tracking down to see the amazing northern lights.

But just because you’ve traveled to a northern destination doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to see them. These tips will help you maximize your chances of catching a glimpse of this natural wonder and to see the Amazing Northern Lights.

How Rare Is It to see the Amazing Northern Lights?

This is not an easy question to ask. It depends on all kinds of factors, from hours of darkness to the KP index (a measure of geomagnetic activity at a particular latitude). These are some of the things to consider:

  • You’re more likely to see them the further north you travel;
  • In the summer months, northern latitudes see fewer dark hours, and you can’t see the aurora in the daylight;
  • Cloud coverage will obscure the lights, so you need clear skies.

What’s the Best Place to Go?

It’s often the first question aurora-seekers ask: where is the best place to see them on vacation? Pretty much anywhere far north enough is a good starting point. Think of places like:

  • Northern Canada
  • Alaska
  • Greenland
  • Iceland
  • Norway
  • Russia

But there are other factors to consider. Staying in a city means more light pollution, which will diminish the effects. The more remote you can get, the more impressive the sighting. An Arctic expedition cruise is a great way to get away from towns and cities while getting a chance to see the Northern Lights in comfort.

When Is the Best Time to see the Amazing Northern Lights?

The optimal season to go is the fall, especially September and October. While winter means more darkness and more time to see the lights, the weather can be brutal that far north. By going in the fall (as well as the spring), you can combine more manageable weather with more opportunities to see the lights.

You’ve got the season down, now what time of night should you hope to find them? Generally speaking, the period between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. local time seems to be optimal according to observers, but the aurora can appear any time at night.  

What to Expect

Photos simply can’t prepare you for seeing the lights in person. Imagine the whole, vast sky filled with an unearthly light. The colors you can expect range from blue-violet to ruby red, though bright green tends to be the strongest color you can expect.

Make the Most of Your Trip

Plenty of popular destinations for those out to experience the dream-like Northern Lights are also some of the most incredible places on Earth, rich with wildlife, unbelievable landscapes, and traditional cultures. 

Plan a vacation full of other activities and things to do. Go somewhere that’s always fascinated you and that will give you plenty of other sightseeing opportunities. There’s plenty to explore in the northern reaches of the world.

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