Best times to see the Northern Lights

2 minute read

Head north for a once-in-a-lifetime show

Northern Lights are most visible from the end of August to April in northern Finland. Auroras, caused by solar winds, occur year-round but the nights need to be dark enough for us to be able to catch a glimpse of this phenomenal light show.

That is why autumn, winter, and spring are the best times to see the Northern Lights.

Northern Lights over an unfrozen lake in Nurmes, Finland.
Credits: Asko Kuittinen

Autumn and spring are active Northern Lights seasons

Many people associate the Northern Lights with winter, but the most active seasons are actually autumn and spring. This is when the earth’s orientation towards the sun maximizes the probability of solar flares interacting with the planet’s magnetic field, which creates this mesmerizing phenomenon. Statistically, the lights are visible on every second night.

Credits: Thomas Kast

Northern Lights season starts in August

The best aurorae-watching season starts at the end of August, when the nights get darker, and ends at the start of April, when the nights start to get lighter. Seeing them requires clear skies and just a bit of luck: the Northern Lights are visible on roughly 200 nights a year – or every other clear night – in Lapland. Your chances of catching them get better the further north you go.

Did you know the Finnish Meterological Institute even has a web page for space weather? It’ll show the Aurora activity in Finland now. There also also local Northern Lights apps available in various parts of Finland.

Northern Lights are visible on roughly 200 nights a year – or every other clear night – in Lapland.

One of the most magical times to see the Northern Lights is during the darkest days of winter. Find an open location, like a field, for unobstructed views.
Credits: : Thomas Kast
The Northern Lights are visible when the sky is clear. There are mobile apps and websites you can use to check the likelihood of seeing the Aurora.
Credits:: Markus Kiili
Green is the most commonly seen colour in the Northern Lights. Spotting a red aurora is very rare.

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