When Can I See The Northern Lights?



People are quite surprised to hear that some of my photos are taken at the end of August or beginning of May, as they think it is something that only occurs during the winter.

The fact is, as long as there's a short period of complete darkness, there is a chance of seeing this beautiful natural phenomena. 

The polar lights, or aurora, are natural lights that you can see in the night sky in a band around Earth at around 10 to 20 degrees away from the geomagnetic poles. While the solar winds can disturb the magnetosphere at any time of the year, you will need a dark sky in order to see the aurora.

If you want a decent chance of seeing the northern lights, you will need to travel to a location within the auroral oval during the winter.

Anywhere from around October to April should give you enough of darkness to see northern lights. Do keep in mind that you'd get a longer period of darkness the closer it is to winter solstice (about December 21st).

Another thing you need to think about before planning a trip to see the northern lights, is the local weather conditions. You should see if there's a time during the winter where there's a bigger chance of clear skies.

And while I do hope you get a chance to see the aurora dance across the sky, you should always keep in mind that this is a natural phenomena.

There is no guarantee you will get to see it. I have spent many nights outside hoping for a flash of green in the horizon, but where Lady Aurora never showed up.

But there is so much beauty in the night, in the stars, the landscapes and the nature, so I never find it disappointing.


Video of the Aurora Australis taken by the crew of Expedition 28 
on board the International Space Station
This sequence of shots was taken September 17, 2011

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