Finnish Lapland offers the perfect latitude as the Northern Lights are mostly appearing in the skies near the North and South Poles. It has to be dark enough, making Lapland an ideal place to see the amazing dancing lights in the sky.
Aurora Borealis, commonly known as the Northern Lights, are visible between September and mid-April. Because of our location at Aurora Village, there is a great chance for you to see the magic happen during the Aurora season from our own yard. We are located in the middle of nature, far away from light pollution, bright lights, and buildings, making our area ideal for the Auroras to appear in the sky. We also offer Aurora activities to make sure you have multiple options to see the magical dancing lights!
What do I need to know about the Northern Lights?
Here we have collected the most asked questions and everything you need to know about the Aurora Borealis.
How are the Northern Lights formed?
Aurora Borealis are natural light displays that shimmer in the sky. Most auroras happen about 97-1,000 kilometers (60-620 miles) above the Earth’s surface.
The movement that forms auroras begins on the sun. In the hearth of the solar, particles are created and when they forge escape, they have some electrical charge with them while solar energy launches them to space. Only a very few make it through to Earth and even fewer strike molecules in our atmosphere.
What happens then, causes the different colors of Auroras. Normally, the oxygen releases the solar energy in sheets of green, but sometimes when the particles penetrate deeper, touching the nitrogen molecules the Auroras are shown as violet. On rare occasions, energetic solar winds can create red Auroras.
What color are the Northern Lights?
The most common color for the Northern Lights is green due to the forming process explained above. The second common color is violet and the rarest is blood-red or blue. However, in many cases, the Northern Lights can look grey through human eyes, but with a good camera, you can take photos when they can be seen as green.
Where can I see the Northern Lights?
Finland, together with Norway, are the most popular destination for seeing the Northern Lights in Europe. In Finland, you can see the Northern Lights during the Aurora season, when you go north of the Arctic Circle. Basically, the more North you go, you can uplevel your changes to see the glowing lights in the sky. In the northernmost Finnish region of Inari, there is a small village called Ivalo, where our Aurora Village is located. The village is in the middle of nature, far away from the light pollution and city lights, which are crucial points for seeing bright Aurora.
Besides Finland, the best places to spot the Aurora are in Norway, Swedish Lapland, Iceland, Greenland, New Zealand, Australia, Alaska, and Canada. Remember that in all these countries you need to do your research as the Northern Lights are only shown in specific areas when the weather and luck allow it.
When is the best time to see the Northern Lights?
Auroras are visible between September and mid-April, whenever it gets dark enough. During the summer in Lapland, the Northern Lights are not visible due to the midnight sun. During the Aurora season, we can see the dancing lights statistically for 5 out of 7 nights, if the sky is clear, at our area in Ivalo, Lapland. They are slightly more active during autumn and spring equinox than the rest of the winter. The best time to see the Auroras is at midnight and a few hours before and after. However, Auroras may occur randomly anytime from just after sunset until dawn.
What is the Aurora KP index?
The Kp-index can help you to understand the weather conditions that might affect seeing Auroras. The KP-index explains the disturbance by the solar wind to the Earth’s magnetic field. The faster the solar wind, the bigger the disturbance. The KP-index ranges from 0 to 9, with zero representing the quiet and nine the intense storm. The best KP index for seeing Auroras vary from 5 to greater.
Do the Northern Lights move?
To answer the question, we need to go back to how the Aurora are formed. The shape of the Northern Lights can change as the solar wind’s magnetic field interacts with the Earth’s field. Normally it is quite slow, but it can also happen very rapidly, which makes the Northern Lights more active.
When the KPI index is high and there is a storm, the aurora are more active and much brighter. You can also see some aurora with a dim light in the sky, that don’t move a lot when they are formed just with the solar wind. When the Aurora is bright, it looks like a living thing in the sky, forming some shapes of sheets or ribbons with bright colors.
What is the best weather to see the Northern Lights?
You need a dark and clear sky, active sun, and some luck to see the Aurora Borealis. The solar wind (KP index) should also be in the middle ground higher (5 to 9) in Ivalo we often see them already at level 2.
How to capture the Northern Lights on camera or phone?
Capturing the Northern Lights for that perfect, Instagrammable photo is a challenge – but we are here for it. When doing the hunt alone, we recommend checking the weather first and visiting a website for aurora forecasts to make sure that the conditions are on your side.
However, we are here for you. In all our Aurora activities, there will be a photographer with you to take photos from the trip, including Auroras if possible.
How to take a photo of the Northern Lights with a smartphone? Read more about the camera settings to triple your changes to capture the perfect Insta shot from here.
How does climate change affect the Northern Lights?
As the auroras are created by interactions between solar particles and the oxygen and nitrogen in the atmosphere, climate change is not affecting the Northern Lights. However, as the weather conditions change for worse and worse, we can not say for sure what the future brings and if the forecasting will get difficult.
Northern Lights myths
There are several myths about the magical lights in the sky. Wonder why, as the name of Aurora Borealis comes from Latin, meaning “the Northern goddess of the dawn” as aurora means the goddess of the dawn, and Borealis signifies the north.
In Finnish, the Aurora Borealis is called “revontulet”, which translates to “fox fires” in English. One Finnish folk tale suggests that the Northern Lights are caused by a magical fox sweeping his tail across the snow and sending sparks up into the sky.
There are also several folk tales, suggesting that the Aurora is the spirit of the dead or magic spells by the unrecognized forces of light and dark. Some believe, that a baby conceived under the Northern Lights will be beautiful and lucky. And these are only a scratch of the surface, as the magical and dancing lights are intriguing for many.
Is 2022 a good year to see the Northern Lights?
The short answer is yes! We cannot predict nature’s will, but we have already seen magical Northern Lights above our village here in Ivalo, Finland, starting from the end of August. Also, the weather forecast and KP index look favorable for seeing the Northern Lights in the area.
Welcome to the village of the Northern Lights
We can truthfully and proudly say that we get the amazing Northern Light shows in our own yard many times a week, during the Aurora season when the sky is clear. At Aurora village, you can see the Aurora Borealis from our glass roof igloos, and enjoy the view from the comfort of your cozy and warm bed. We have placed all our cabin glass roofs to the Northern sky, where the Aurora might appear.
We want to make sure that you have as many opportunities as possible to see the amazing phenomena, and therefore we have sky cameras on our premises, so we can send an alarm through an app when the Auroras are visible directly to your phone. You’ll get the alerts by purchasing a code from us, that you can use for the Northern Lights Alert -App.
However, if you want to double your chances, we recommend booking our special Aurora tours. In the autumn, you can get guided by a professional Aurora hunter by car. The guide will do all the research for you and take you to places, where the sky is most clear on that day. All the tours are personalized as the guide will make sure to take you to the spots where there is the highest possibility to see the dancing lights in the sky.
During the winter season, you can also choose to go aurora hunting with a snowmobile or snowshoes or even with a heated Aurora Sleight towed by a snowmobile, with our experienced guide to guide you towards the magic of the sky. You can check Aurora activities and a wide range of other activities here.
Want to hear more from experience? Read our blog posts about the aurora season and Aurora storm written by an Aurora hunter & CEO of All about Lapland, Alexander Kuznetsov, who is a passionate aurora hunter.
We gladly welcome you to our village of the magical Aurora. Experiencing the dancing lights in the sky is an experience that will last in your memories for a lifetime.