– This will be a night to remember, – I told my friends when we were moving out. I was right.
On September 27th 2019 a huge aurora storm has hit the Earth. Autumn, by the way, is one of the best seasons to hunt the northern lights in Lapland, and we were expecting something amazing.
Earlier that night the weather was awesome. Sun was shining beautifully, and we already went fatbiking with Juha, the owner of Aurora Village, and a couple of friends, Heini & Mattia. While we were having dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, I was getting really nervous. I knew that the big aurora storm was on its way. It was coming from a huge coronal hole on the sun’s surface, meaning that a fast stream of solar wind was about to hit earth. Actually, the impact itself happened already at noon, and all what we needed was a little darkness to see it.
We’ve set out aurora hunting on Juha’s old Solifer camper van 1992, which we called the “Aurora Camper”. We knew that the auroras would be visible over the Aurora Village too, but our goal was to find a good and picturesque spot to experiment with photos photos. The plan was to go to some of Juha’s most favourite spots in Ivalo Lapland Finland. However, I was growing really impatient as the old van was moving on the road so slowly. Through the foggy windshield, I already could see the sky turning green in front of us. Juha squeezed everything from the old Solifer, and we made it on top of Sovintovaara hill, just in time for the show.
The auroras have already started to dance beautifully. Soon, they were everywhere and around us. The sky was burning in every direction, even directly above us.
– Look, look, look. look! Can you see? – Mattia was shouting.
This was his first time seeing the auroras, and he got extremely lucky right away. Me and Juha have certainly seen auroras go big like this, but still, we were pretty amazed.
The auroras were moving very fast, and changing direction. This continued for a good 10–15 minutes.
While the auroras kept dancing, we decided to visit the observation point at Sovintovaara, and boy there was some big auroras to observe!
It barely got dark a little less than an hour ago, and you can still see a bit of sunset on this pic, underneath the beautiful aurora.
After a good half-an-hour, it seemed like the show was taking a break. We decided to use this time and change our location. We’ve set of to lake Pasasjärvi, not normally, a difficult spot for the auroras, but on that night it would work perfectly.
The aurora was pretty small at this moment, compared to the earlier one, but we’ve went on experimenting with the photos. We had some water equipment with us, and Juha had set on sailing on the SUP board. It was completely dark around, making the photos even more epic.
I, on the other hand, spotted a rock in the lake, which I knew I would want to visit! Sigh…
I took my boots and pants off and crawled through the rocky lake bottom to the rock. It was all worth it…
Our friends Mattia and Heini also got some action, as we were using them as models for our photos 🙂 We had some sparkling wine in store for them, so they did not mind! 😀
At this same time, the northern lights were intensifying again. Our friends felt a little romantic 🙂
At this point, we were already out on our northern lights tour for about 5 hours. We decided to drive back to the village, but we only made a few hundred meters when we all had to get our of the car and watch the amazing aurora unfold above us.
By the way, you watch our whole aurora hunting experience in this 30-minute vlog.
When we got back to the village, everyone was already pretty tired, including me! However, the aurora decided to give us the final blow. Image spending a night under this view!
I continued taking more photos even though it was near 3AM in the morning, and I was running out of batteries and memomy cards. My friends we already sleeping by then.
One of the last waves of northern lights was particularly beautiful and long-lasting. Finally, after that, the sky started to turn dark-green and then black again.
Such amazing nights are rare to experience, but are more likely especially during September-October, and March-April. These low-season months are also much easier (and cheaper!) for booking flights, trips and accommodation, so I cannot recommend them enough.
In Mid-winter, aurora storms are surely possible, but much more common are the northern lights in the form of an arch that shines over the northern horizon. However, that’s why I love Ivalo as the northern lights are usually more powerful and more often to appear than in other places located in southern Lapland!
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About the Author
Aurora hunter & CEO of All About Lapland
Alexander Kuznetsov is a passionate aurora hunter and photographer based in Rovaniemi Lapland Finland. He is Editor-in-Chief of All About Lapland Magazine and founder of the Aurora Hunting blog.