Northern Lights

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When is the best time to see the Northern Lights?

If we could answer this question we would be rich beyond the dreams of men! The best we can do is to provide a rough guide based on certain timescales. January to March These are probably the three most popular months for Aurora hunting because they bring long dark nights and plenty of snow to play in during the daylight hours while you wait for darkness to fall.

View Holidays Next: April to August. Credit: Northern Norway. April to August To see the Northern Lights you need dark skies and from early-April until late-August, the Aurora may be blazing across the Arctic firmament but it is visible only to scientific equipment, as the skies are just too light for the human eye to see the show.

View Holidays Next: September and October. Credit: Markku Inkila. September and October These are the months we would recommend to anybody who prefers to avoid the extreme cold of an Arctic winter.

The BEST Places to See The Northern Lights

View Holidays Next: November and December. November and December November is very much a time of change in the Arctic and heralds the arrival of the first major snows of the winter. Learn more about the Northern Lights. Coronal Holes — A clue to when the Northern Lights might appear? How do the Northern Lights appear? How likely am I to see the Northern Lights?

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What is the Solar Maximum? Does a full moon ruin your chances of seeing the Aurora Borealis? Why are the Northern Lights sometimes coloured differently? Where is the best place to see the Northern Lights?

Travel Website Development. Blown towards the earth by the solar wind, the charged particles are largely deflected by the earth's magnetic field. However, the earth's magnetic field is weaker at either pole and therefore some particles enter the earth's atmosphere and collide with gas particles. These collisions emit light that we perceive as the dancing lights of the north and the south.

The Solar Cycle - Solar Maximum/Solar Minimum

The lights of the Aurora generally extend from 80 kilometres 50 miles to as high as kilometres miles above the earth's surface. Northern Lights can be seen in the northern or southern hemisphere, in an irregularly shaped oval centred over each magnetic pole. The lights are known as 'Aurora borealis' in the north and 'Aurora australis' in the south.

Scientists have learned that in most instances northern and southern auroras are mirror-like images that occur at the same time, with similar shapes and colors. Because the phenomena occurs near the magnetic poles, northern lights have been seen as far south as New Orleans in the western hemisphere, while similar locations in the east never experience the mysterious lights. However the best places to watch the lights in North America are in the northwestern parts of Canada, particularly the Yukon, Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Alaska.

Auroral displays can also be seen over the southern tip of Greenland and Iceland, the northern coast of Norway and over the coastal waters north of Siberia.


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Southern auroras are not often seen as they are concentrated in a ring around Antarctica and the southern Indian Ocean. Areas that are not subject to 'light pollution' are the best places to watch for the lights. Areas in the north, in smaller communities, tend to be best. Researchers have also discovered that auroral activity is cyclic, peaking roughly every 11 years. There is no single setting for your camera that ensures great captures, but if you have manual options, you are probably best served with experimenting with various combinations of ISO, aperture, and exposure settings.

Different combinations may give very different results. Higher ISO setting will allow you to capture faster exposures, but may also result in grainier images, for examples. Note that shutter speeds of above 15 seconds will result in slight star movement.

Wider angle lenses are usually more versatile in low light settings, but longer lenses give you different options for compositions. Make sure that you remove all lens filters, as they may distort images. You will probably get the best results with manual setting for infinite focal length. Find northern light tours. Iceland is the hiker's paradise. More than half of the country lies above meters feet and the landscape is extraordinarily diverse, with large areas covered with colorful mountains, lava fields, glaciers, hot springs, lakes and black sands. The rugged nature has been shaped by the elements to form a majestic scenery unlike any other place in the world.