Have You Seen the “Northern Lights”? – An International Look at the Aurora Borealis

The Famous Northern Lights

The Northern Lights, also known as Polar Lights or the technical name Aurora Borealis, can be viewed in 10 countries worldwide. Obviously this would be the Northernmost regions of our globe, but some may be surprised to learn that occasionally this phenomenon can be seen from Scotland, as well as the Mid-Northern United States. What causes it?

Simply put, the Aurora is created by ionization. When a magnetic field is disturbed by solar wind it kicks around electrons and protons forming the beautiful whisps of color we so admire. Altitude levels, atomic oxygen and molecular nitrogen all play a part in which color appears before our eyes. Various hues of red, green, blue, ultraviolet, yellow and pink appear and reappear frequently, but green is most commonly observed.

Northern Lights Season and Guided Tours

Have you seen the Northern Lights? Would you like to? The Northern Lights can be seen up to 170 days a year, from September to the beginning of April. Seeing the lights is largely based on avoiding light pollution, so you’ll need to venture out of the city. According to National Geographic, the best places to see the lights are the suburbs of Reykjavík in Iceland (or Kirkjufell Mountain), Fairbanks Alaska, Yellowknife Canada, Tromsø Norway, Qaleraliq Glacier in Greenland, several National Parks near Rovaniemi Finland or Northern Sweden near the town of Kiruna, which is also famous for the Ice Hotel.

Fairbanks, Alaska is a great place to view the Aurora Borealis. Board the Alaska Railroad, take a connecting flight from Anchorage or grab your survival gear and drive 6 hours up the AK-3 North. Many cabin rentals on Trip Advisor advertise views of the Northern Lights. If a Northern Lights tour sounds better, we’ve found some highly rated international tours online at TourRadar.com. In the meantime, check out these awesome pics of the Northern Lights on Instagram.

Northern Lights Pics From Instagram

Northern Lights in Norway

Northern Lights in Finland

Northern Lights in Alaska

 

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