I believe the aurora is one of those natural phenomena that is on everyone list to do. It should be. Seeing one of these is surreal. It’s like the alien coming to get us (and alien is mostly portrayed in green color… coincidence?). Enough said. Here’s a short timelapse from all my aurora borealis sightings in Norway. I was lucky enough to see these amazing phenomena for about 8 days, with a couple of days of very strong intensity (up to kp7 and G1/G2 storms).
WHERE I WENT AND SOME AURORA PHOTO SPOTS
1. Alta – 3 nights – recommended, saw the aurora all 3 days, clear sky
2. Skibotn – 2 nights – recommended, saw the aurora both nights. if cloudy, can try Kilpisjarvi or Lyngen
3. Tromso – 1 night – Tromso is perhaps the most popular starting point for aurora seeker. activity wasn’t great the night I was there. There are however, some great spots such as Ersfjordbotn, or from the top of the Tromso cable car
4. Senja – 2 nights – recommended, saw the lights on both nights, very clear sky such that the stars were very visible.
5. Andoya – 2 nights – it was OK, I thought Senja has better nature view, but Andoya is smaller and there’s less people. saw the aurora both nights, but first night was very cloudy until about 2am
6. Lofoten – 5 nights – Lofoten has unrivaled landscape. Just beautiful, so it’s worth trying, and even if you don’t see the aurora, the landscape itself is worth it. I did see the aurora on 1 of the nights I was there just slightly outside of Svolvaer. The rest of the stay was very cloudy and rainy that it was not visible, despite forecast kp6 and G1 activity.
Here are my tips for catching the aurora: eliminate the factor you can control, do your research, and then hope for the best. In my opinion, there are 2 main factors – solar activity and weather.
1. SOLAR ACTIVITY – the closer you get to the north pole, the better chance you get to see them. So, the way to somewhat eliminate uncertainty is to go as north as possible. It’s very simple logic, since the aurora activity is usually almost always there, if you are in a region of kp1-2, then you’ll see it even it’s low activity. All the places I went are within kp2 region.
2. LOCAL WEATHER – www.yr.no is the main website for Norway. Clear, cloudless sky is key. It changes quite quickly, so stay updated. Do your research on which places statistically has better weather for the particular time you plan to be there.
Last but not least, allow sufficient time. I allocated 3 weeks for this, and while I have seen the lights 8 nights in a row, the rest of the time was total disaster given cloudy weather. Happy hunting!