Think about a winter travel bucket list, and almost always, everyone will have the northern lights topping their list. For obvious reasons, the bright dancing lights seem to have enamored our millennials since the time they’ve been bitten by the travel bug. And why not? This natural phenomenon is soon dying and seeing them is an experience worth a lifetime, for sure.
What are Northern Lights?
To the those ‘lucky’ few who have no clue about what the northern lights are, they’re nothing but collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earth’s atmosphere. These collisions are seen from the earth like bright waves of colourful lights and can be seen from both the earth’s magnetic poles, south, and north.
That being said, you must also know that there are two types of this phenomenon; the aurorae that are displayed in the Arctic Circle are called Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights and the aurorae that are displayed in the Antarctic Circle are called Aurora Australis or Southern Lights.
And that’s the end of the trivia, but hang on, if you’re wondering about which is the best place to spot the northern lights, read on.
Northern Lights in Finland!
With a few fascinating European countries as borders and the magnificent Baltic Sea around Finland is one of the best places to view the Northern Lights. With a kickass geography, Finland is located right in the middle of what’s called the “Aurora Zone” – latitudes between 66 and 69 degrees north where conditions for Aurora formation are prime. And as for its infrastructure, Lapland in Finland has various offerings and experiences (including the village and office of Santa Claus himself) to keep you well occupied during your trip.
Spotting the Northern Lights
Believe it or not, the Northern Lights are known to be visible on roughly 200 nights a year – or every alternate clear night in Lapland. You can choose to opt for traditionals way to spot the lights like snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or unique ways like reindeer-drawn sleighing, towed sleds or more. For people who cannot stand the biting cold, Finland also offers some cosy cottages right at the lights spotting locations, so you can watch the aurorae under your warm blankets!
Best Time to Spot the Northern Lights
In all honesty, It isn’t possible to predict the occurrence of this natural phenomenon. Hence, it is said predicting the appearance of the lights any further in advance than about two hours before it happens is difficult. But as for seasons, September to March are the most popular months to spot them. These months bring long and dark winter nights in Finland, making them the perfect time to spot the aurora. Other than that, September, October and March are the best months as recommended by aurora hunters, as it marks the onset/end of winter in Finland with higher probability of clear skies!
Tips for better sightings:
Escape the Light Pollution: Odds of viewing Northern Lights are much better if you are away from the lights which usually emit from towns/cities. So go into the dark in the wilderness and explore for better chances.
Prepare all about your tour in advance: As we mentioned before, the occurrence of the aurora even during the best time is a fleeting phenomenon. Do your research and do it well! Remember, the darker the skies, the better are your chances of spotting the Northern Lights.
Here’s one for the photography enthusiasts: Be well equipped with your gear. Your tripod is your holy grail when you set off to spot the aurora. Be patient!
Do not depend on predictions that guarantee you a sighting & be realistic: if you’ve read this far, you’d know that this occurrence is totally unpredictable and weather insights cannot predict this 100% to be true. They say, the nights they predict zero sightings of the northern lights is when you spot the most, so count your stars and wait for the magic to happen! :D