Aurora Hunting: Chasing the Aurora Borealis

 

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Photo by Image by McBeaner

While we go back into restrictions in many countries due to Covid, this late-fall and early winter if you are lucky enough to be at a certain latitudinal line in the northern hemisphere, or the southern (Australis Lights), you can see a spectacular show of ribbons of lights in the night skies. We see our sun’s solar winds colliding with the Earth’s atmosphere, which is changing in composition, and we get amazing ribbons of spectral dancers. Places to see the this amazing show include the Shetland Islands and mainland Scotland, in the 52°-55° latitudinal lines, and Ireland is also well situated to see these amazing light displays.

The Aurora Zone

Countries within or near the 52°-55° latitude are considered the best places to observe the night time light show. However, if the geomagnetic activity is high (Kp index) the lights can extend further. There is not a season per se for the lights, however winter is usually better with longer nights. And as far away from large cities as possible.

Scottish Sites: October to March

Isle of Lewis, Harris, and Skye (North), Orkney and Caithness . The farthest Northwest part of Scotland: Applecross Peninsula, Lochniver, Ullapool. Cairngorms range, Galloway Forrest Park, Perthshire

Coast of Fife, Morray Firth , Nairn, Cairn o’ Mount

Ireland Sites: Best months September and March

County Donegal, Inishowen Penisula and surrounds. County Kerry, Kerry Dark Sky Park. County Mayo, Mullet Peninsula (Standing stones and Northern Lights), Downpatrick Head. County Sligo, Mullaghmore 

Iceland: All of it

Norway: The Lofoten Islands, Nordkapp, Kirkenes, Tromsø, and Svalbard

Canada: In some places you can see them 240 nights out of the year

Northwest Territories, Yellowknife, and Newfoundland Labrador

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Image by Martin Solhaug Standal

Share your Aurora hunting stories.

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