Auroras in Northern Europe | Traveler by Unique


What causes the Northern Lights?

The Northern Lights is as a result of solar particles migrating into the earth’s magnetic field at very high atmosphere. This migration or solar particles results in ionization. The strength practically relies on the action of the sun itself and the quickening speed of these active particles.

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Why Northern Lights Appear?

The fact that some countries are geographically located at high latitude (approximately 64° north), makes the skies so bright from the middle of April up to the middle of August. This indicates that no Northern Lights can be observed during this period. But the skies gradually become darker as from late August to the middle of April. The skies witnessed the darkest period from late September to late March. At this period, darkness crawls in as from 6 PM which makes this period the best period to notice the aurora.

Since the earth’s magnetic fields are stronger at the poles, (Northern and Southern poles) which is above 60° latitude in the north and below 60° in the south, we can observe the activities of the aurora in these areas. The aurora appearing in the north is tagged Northern Lights while the southerly aurora is tagged Southern Lights or Aurora Australis.

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The aurora makes dancing lights appear in the high sky in varying colors. Typically, green is the dominant color, however purple, pink, red, orange, and blue may be seen. What color appears is totally a factor of which particles of the sun that migrated into the earth’s magnetic field and which ones are being ionized at a particular time.

Nevertheless, since solar activity is practically irregular and unpredictable, it is still not possible to see the dancing lights even on a dark but clear night in Northern Europe. It is not wrong to say that the Northern Lights (the aurora) are there all the time, but they are invisible to the naked eyes due to the brightness of the sun.

Meanwhile, in the past, different interpretations were conjured to explain the Northern Lights up above the skies. This was before the science comes with clear explanations of the aurora phenomenon.

For instance, some Native Americana considered the aurora as representative of the spirits of their dead loved ones. While some other religion fanatics claimed it was an omen, (which could either be good or bad).

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Likelihood of sighting the Northern Lights

Luck and patience are what you need to be able to get a glimpse of the Northern Lights even during the most prosperous season from late August to the middle of April. Though, you may base your eagerness on the aurora forecast and cloud cover forecast. You may be able to get a view of the aurora display under the following conditions:

  • Focus you look between Septembers to Aprils
  • Dark night and mild or no moonlight
  • Be away from light pollutions
  • Less cloud covers
  • Enough solar activity to active the aurora

In all these, you stand a better chance to see the Northern Lights with the aid of some scientific equipment.