Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Best Countries to View The Northern Lights

Northern Lights, Sky, ThreeYesterday, I spoke about planning a trip to Iceland at Christmas and wanting to sign up for a night tour to check out the northern lights while I'm there.  I usually travel with someone on these trips and he has one of those apps that notifies him when auroral displays are happening.  That is one reason for Iceland but I wondered what other places are just as good to view the lights for future trips.

Fairbanks, Alaska is considered one of the best places in the world to view the Aurora Borealis due to location within the ring shaped area surrounding the North Pole. They are most often seen between 10 PM and 2 AM.  I usually see them when I fly into Fairbanks in October or even at Christmas time.

Trosmo Norway, located just above the Arctic Circle, is another prime place located within the Auroral ring.  The best months are between October and March.  If you visit in January, you can check out the Northern Lights Festival where people celebrate with live music, and outdoor activities.  You might want to hit the Lofoten Islands in Norway for a great view.  This place has instruments that track magnetic activity so there is a better idea of when to view them.

Of course Iceland is great for seeing the northern lights from August to April or even into May.  Once can see pink and purple lights in addition to the standard green here.  The last time I visited Iceland, I thought I saw the aurora in the sky when we were approaching Iceland and I might have indeed seen them because it was August.

If you don't want to go quite that far north, you might want to check out the Shetland Islands in January.  These islands are the northern most part of Scotland where it is possible to see the northern lights.  These lights are referred to as "merrie dancers", are often seen as sheets or curtains of light filling the sky.

Fortunately, you don't have to go too far to see the lights.  You could pop up to Alberta, Canada where the lights are visible through the whole province but if you pop up to the Jasper National park, you should have a spectacular view because it has no  manmade lights shining into the sky.  You could drive on over to the Yukon Territory to Dawson to check out their Northern Lights Center to learn more about them.

Northern Finland has a reputation for being able to see the Aurora just about every other day from September to March for some of the best viewing.  If you'd prefer Sweden, they also have some great viewing for those same months.

Actually, just about any country that lies by the Arctic Circle or above will give you a chance to explore the northern lights.  They arrive quickly, dance across the sky capturing your attention before disappearing into the night sky.  Sometimes, they stay awhile to play while other times, they are there long enough to identify them before they speed away.

Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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