Aurora Hunting tips

Solar Wind: The Sun constantly releases a stream of charged particles, like protons and electrons, called the solar wind. These particles travel through space at incredible speeds.

Earth's Magnetic Field: Thankfully, Earth has a magnetic field that acts like a giant shield, deflecting most of the solar wind away from our atmosphere. However, some energetic particles get channeled towards the poles by the magnetic field lines.

Collision and Light Emission: As these charged particles slam into the Earth's upper atmosphere (around 60-200 miles high), they collide with atoms and molecules of oxygen and nitrogen. This collision excites these atoms and molecules, causing them to release energy in the form of light. The color of the light depends on the specific gas molecule that's been excited. Oxygen emissions create vibrant greens and reds, while nitrogen gives off blues and purples.

So, the captivating display of the Northern Lights is essentially a celestial ballet – a cosmic dance between the energetic particles from the Sun and the gases in Earth's atmosphere, orchestrated by our planet's magnetic field.

Check from Nasa YouTube channel how this amazing phenomenon looks from space.


Where can these lights be seen?

Definitely in Lapland in the three Nordic counties of Finland, Sweden and Norway and anywhere above 60 degrees of Northern latitude to 75 degrees of Northern Latitude. This area is also called Aurora Zone.

Did you know that there is a southern counterpart for this phenomenon called Aurora Australis or Southern Lights? These lights arising from the South Pole can be seen in Australia’s Southern areas and Tasmania and Antarctica.

The colors of the lights are also a little different. In the Northern hemisphere the colors are more often green and white, although pink, purple, blues and reds are seen. In the Southern hemisphere, green and pink are common, with a little blue, red and purple.


Best Time of the Year to Visit Lapland for Northern Lights

Aurora Hunting season starts in September and lasts until mid-April. March is usually best month to see Aurora´s because cloudiness reduces towards spring. Also Nordic countries have their own winter holiday season in February so tourist destinations are in high-season and accommodation prices higher.

The Winter Solstice is 21st December meaning that it´s the darkest time of the year. Polar Night when sun doesn´t rise above horizon on the Polar circle lasts in Finnish Lapland´s popular tourist destination Rovaniemi two days and further up north you go longer the Polar Night lasts. In Ylläs it is 16 days and in Finland´s most northern Village of Utsjoki astonishing 52 days.

It is good to know that Polar Night doesn´t mean pitch dark. There is a blue calming light which makes the snowy landscapes magical and when the darkness falls the stars, Aurora Lights and moon illuminate the wilderness..


Best time to see Aurora Borealis

When ever it is dark you might see them but 10 pm – 2 am might be most convenient and probable time for Aurora hunting though after 2 am it is still a good opportunity for sightings for late sleepers.

Remember that going on your own for Aurora Hunting can be dangerous since loosing your orientation or falling outside the mobile grid can make it hard to find back to home. Also the driving conditions in Lapland are demanding with snow covered or icy roads and thick embankment of ploughed snow.


Best weather to see Aurora Borealis

Obviously when the sky is clear. So, if you see stars then it might be a good chance Aurora´s. Also if it is New Moon then there is no distracting moon luminance.

Sun doesn´t send its magnetic rays if Earth has cold temperatures so there is no correlation with coldness. But because in Lapland cold usually means high pressure it also is most likely weather the have clear sky.


Where Aurora Borealis are most likely to be seen?

Here are some Tourist destinations in Finland, Sweden, and Norway at the Aurora Zone. Destinations have been listed from South to North. Northern latitude has higher probability for Aurora sightings.



Kilpisjärvi 69 ° 02´ Northern Latitude

Saariselkä 68 ° 25´ Northern Latitude

Pallas 69 ° 06´ Northern Latitude

Levi 67 ° 45´ Northern Latitude

Ylläs 67 ° 34´ Northern Latitude

Pyhä 67 ° 00´ Northern Latitude

Salla 66 ° 49´ Northern Latitude

Suomutunturi 66 ° 33´ Northern Latitude

Rovaniemi 66 ° 31´ Northern Latitude

Ruka 66 ° 10´ Northern Latitude

Iso-Syöte 65 ° 36´ Northern Latitude

Tahko 63 ° 17´ Northern Latitude



Kiiruna 67 ° 51´ Northern Latitude

Hemavan 65 ° 48´ Northern Latitude

Åre 63 ° 23´ Northern Latitude

Tänndalen 62 ° 32´ Northern Latitude

Idre fjäll 61 ° 53´ Northern Latitude

Sälen 61 ° 09´ Northern Latitude



Oppdal 62 ° 35´ Northern Latitude

Kvittfjell 61 ° 28´ Northern Latitude

Trysil 61 ° 14´ Northern Latitude

Hafjell 61 ° 14´ Northern Latitude

Hemsedal 60 ° 51´ Northern Latitude

Voss 60 ° 42´ Northern Latitude


Five common mistakes about Aurora Hunting!

Source: Loosely based on Her Finland YouTube video.


# 1 Don´t expect insane colors.

Most photographs and videos you see in internet are taken for commercial purposes with long exposures. They might even be postprocessed with AI and the colors can be enhanced.

Be patient since the storm is fluctuating in the sky. So even if you see just a glimpse a bigger show might be coming, or not.

Nevertheless, the experience can be religious like especially if you catch them in darkness and the are dancing and covering the skies.


# 2 Don´t trust apps notification.

The best way not to see the celestial show is stay indoors. Yes it can be freezing, and yes you might want the stay by the fireplace sipping red wine and following your smart phones app. Unfortunately these apps only indicate a calculative probability how much magnetic influx of particles might be coming towards Earth´s atmosphere.

Think this opportunity more like a chance to see your favorite Pop Star at the back entrance of his or her hotel. If you don´t stay by the door when he or she comes or leaves the building then you won’t see the Pop Star.


# 3 You haven´t picked a viewing point beforehand.

If you rush from your cabin or hotel room outdoors straight into brightly lit street the chance is that you miss the show. Also, it can be that to nearest unlit spot is by the woods that cover your view to horizon or a hill or mountain is blocking the view.

Try to find in daylight an open area with no artificial lighting and obstacles. Part of the experience is tranquility and silence so avoid highways and urban areas which in resorts can be quite vast. Some Lapland villages do turn of streetlights if there is a good Aurora night. But you might still be disturbed by lights from buildings.

One good advice is to ask the locals where they would go to watch Aurora´s. Remember that in winter time to roads can be narrowed by snow embankments and to find the location using Google maps doesn´t tell you condition of the roads and are they snow ploughed.


# 4 Not having suitable camera.

The fact is that almost everyone wants pictures of the celestial event. But taking a picture with you mobile without a stand or tripod means almost certainly blurry unfocused pictures. A good tip also is to have at least two pairs of gloves of which one is touch-screen gloves.

High-end gear such as DSLR or mirrorless camera will give you more variation with shutter, aperture, ISO, lenses etc. But the main trick is to use a mount, long exposure and to set the focus to infinity or furthest visible point.  There is plenty of websites to give you guidance, here is one of Adobe´s.

Make sure that you have enough power meaning a powerbank or extra batteries for camera.


# 5 Remember to enjoy your trip even if Aurora´s won’t show.

In general holiday making is your and your family´s time. Aurora hunting can be one objective. But there is so much going on Planet Earth beneath the sky so build your trip so that you take memories with you from the holiday destination, country, people, accommodation, wildlife, food and drinks not to forget nightlife and activities.

Some people believe that conceiving a child under the Aurora Borealis gives luck and health to newborn. That maybe being so it is still just a natural phenomenon like seeing rare wildlife or new cultures. Embrace to moment and enjoy.


Weather and circumstances

Be prepared for freezing temperatures. A good site for clothings tips is Remember that if you travelling from warm climate country you might not find suitable clothing from your local apparel stores.

If you have been planning your trip well beforehand it might be a good idea to purchase some warm clothes online from Nordic clothing shops.


Great Tip! In Finland Winter Sales starts right after Christmas or even a couple days before it, so that is a great opportunity to get warm clothing.


I hope you will find these tips useful. When booking accommodation check



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