The brightest way to see the Northern Lights

Enhance your chances of seeing stunning auroral displays by following these handy tips, courtesy of The Aurora Zone


Northern Lights

Sadly, neither predicting the Northern Lights nor actually seeing them is particularly straightforward but there are certain measures you can take to enhance your chances.

The Aurora Zone are the UK’s first and remain the only dedicated Northern Lights holiday company, offering the widest range of Northern Lights holidays across Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Greenland and Canada.

Using their unique aurora hunting formula, every holiday The Aurora Zone provide is designed to give you the very best chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis.

Here are their five steps to aurora hunting heaven…

  • Avoid light pollution

Nothing dilutes an aurora display like artificial light pollution. It’s the same as watching stars in the night sky, you can see far more from a field in the dark countryside than you can from the centre or even the suburbs of any populated area. So, first and foremost, The Aurora Zone‘s destinations are situated outside any towns, cities or large ski resorts because, whilst you may be able to see a display from such places, it will be a pale imitation of what you would experience under darker skies.

Image Credit: Antti Pietikainen

Head to darker skies for the best views of aurorae. Image Credit: Antti Pietikainen

  • Local expertise and guides

Local knowledge of the winter terrain, the best aurora viewpoints and the local weather patterns is absolutely crucial. Many of The Aurora Zone‘s top guides are born and bred Laplanders or have lived in the auroral zone for several years and have gained an invaluable insight into when and where the aurora may appear.

Image Credit: Antti Pietikainen

Knowledge of the winter terrain, the best aurora viewpoints and local weather patterns is crucial. Image Credit: Antti Pietikainen

  • The Kp Index and the auroral zone

It’s important to know where the Northern Lights appear most frequently and most spectacularly. This is determined by the strength of the geomagnetic storms, which cause the lights to occur. The Kp index is the scale used to measure geomagnetic storms and it ranges from 0 (i.e. very little activity) to 9 (just huge!) and, as a basic rule, the larger the number, the further south the Northern Lights can be seen.

However, the most common storms are generally between Kp1 and Kp3, which restricts visibility of the Northern Lights in Scandinavia to a band which appears at a latitude of approximately 66°N and 69°N (it differs in North America due to the oval shape of the band), this band is called the aurora zone.

All of the destinations featured on The Aurora Zone’s website are situated slap bang in the heart of this zone.

Image Credit: Antti Pietikainen

Make sure that you know where the Northern Lights appear most frequently. Image Credit: Antti Pietikainen

  • Mobility

There can be few things more frustrating than a promising auroral forecast on a cloudy evening. This is one of the intrinsic problems associated with aurora hunting because the skies above may be filled with dancing light but you’ll only see clouds!

Many of Aurora Zone‘s holidays aim to solve the problem by including minibus or snowmobile hunts for the Northern Lights. This very often gives the mobility to find a break in the cloud or clearer skies which will hopefully reveal the Northern Lights.

Image Credit: Markku Inkila

The Auroral Zone offers minibus and snowmobile hunts for the Northern Lights. Image Credit: Markku Inkila

  • Aurora Borealis holiday to suit all tastes

The Aurora Zone want to make the aurora accessible to everyone, so for that reason they offer four different activity levels from ‘relaxed’ to ‘active’ catering for those who are looking for a leisurely break, to those who want a truly active adventure in the Arctic.

Image Credit: Antti Pietikainen

The Aurora Zone offer a holiday to suit all tastes. Image Credit: Antti Pietikainen

To find our more and view our range of Northern Lights holidays visit The Aurora Zone or call 01670 785 048 to speak to an aurora expert.

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