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Northern lights overlooking the Trondheim Fjord - Photo: Øyvind Schei
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Northern lights overlooking the Trondheim Fjord Photo: Øyvind Schei
Northern lights in the Trondheim Fjord can be seen from September - March/April under the right conditions. Photo: Øyvind Schei
Northern lights in the Trondheim Fjord can be seen from September - March/April under the right conditions. Photo: Øyvind Schei/www.facebook.com/pages/Mine-magiske-øyeblikk-My-magical-moments/157145004378077
Northern lights in the Trondheim Fjord can be seen from September - March/April under the right conditions. Photo: Øyvind Schei/www.facebook.com/pages/Mine-magiske-øyeblikk-My-magical-moments/157145004378077
Northern lights in Trondheim and the Trondheim Fjord can be seen from September - March/April under the right conditions. Photo: Sven-Erik Knoff/www.facebook.com/FotoKnoff
Northern lights in the Trondheim Fjord can be seen from September - March/April under the right conditions. Photo: Sven-Erik Knoff/www.facebook.com/FotoKnoff
Northern lights in the Trondheim Fjord can be seen from September - March/April under the right conditions. Photo: Sven-Erik Knoff/www.facebook.com/FotoKnoff

Experience the northern lights in Trondheim

The last couple of years have seen an increase in the amount of aurora borealis, more commonly known as northern lights, spotted in Trondheim.

Where to photograph northern lights in Trondheim?

Your chances to see the northern lights in Trondheim are greatest if you visit the region between September and April. Trondheim may offer many ideal spots for capturing the aurora borealis on film. Be sure to find a place where the city lights can be avoided.  The Skistua cabin by Gråkallen, the Trolla hills west of the city centre and last but not least the path following the Lade peninsula, «Ladestien», are all great spots for northern lights sightings. The Lade path is even within walking distance of most hotels in Trondheim. Further north, you may find that the area around Værnes Airport and Stjørdal will give you great opportunities to get some unique pictures of the northern lights. 

The best way to spot the aurora borealis is to position yourself down by the water, facing away from the city lights. With your eyes focused on the Trondheim Fjord, you will get a great overview of the skies above. Additionally, the reflections of northern lights on the water are breathtakingly beautiful. Be sure to keep your eyes on the northern horizon.  

Also, remember to dress according to the weather. Hours pass by quickly when you are out on a northern lights safari. Something hot to drink on a thermos could also be a good idea for those long hours waiting for the northern lights. If you are staying at any of the city's hotels, be sure to make enquiries about whether you may order a hot beverage to go.

What are northern lights?

Northern lights, «Aurora Borealis», are a wonderful phenomenon for which we may thank the sun. Aurora borealis are caused by powerful solar winds which send storms of electrically charged particles towards the Earth. When these particles, consisting of electrons and protons, collide with the gases in our atmosphere, the phenomenon which we call northern lights is created. The appearances of northern lights vary greatly in form, intensity and colour.

How do you know when to look for the northern lights?

Nowadays, it can be easy to keep up with northern lights forecasts through a number of different apps available for your smart phone. Northern lights are identified by a KP index on a scale from 0-9. With the right app, you may receive alerts and forecasts for when the KP level is at the point where it is possible to see the northern lights. A KP index of 3 or higher is usually a good indicator of the possibility of northern lights. Recommended apps are: Nordlysvarsel, Aurora Buddy and Auroral Forecast. Some of them are free, but it is worthwhile to spend a small sum on a better app which will give a more detailed picture of the level of magnetic activity. Another important factor needed to see the northern lights is of course the weather. Clear skies are a must. To make sure it will be a cloud free night, follow the forecast for Trondheim.

How do you photograph northern lights? 

For the best results, be sure to set your camera to manual mode. Have your ISO set to 400 and maximum aperture from f/2.8 up to f/3.5. Firstly, try a shutter speed of 8 to 10 seconds. If your pictures turn out too dark, increase the ISO to 800 and try again. If your camera handles high ISO values, you may increase these even more to 1200 or higher. With such a high ISO, a shutter speed of 5 to 8 seconds may be your best option. The higher shutter speed will make it easier to capture the northern lights’ dancing shapes in the best possible way. With a shutter speed of 15 seconds or more you will get more blurred images of the dancing aurora borealis.

A camera objective with a focal length of 18 mm would be suitable for this kind of photography. The ideal objective would however be a wide-angle lens with focal lengths from 10 mm up to 20 mm. The wide angle gives you the opportunity to capture the width of the horizon and its dancing northern lights. 

Be sure to bring a tripod for your camera. This is a must in order to avoid unwanted movement when the shutter speed is slow. It might be good to use a 2 second self-timer, commonly included in most cameras nowadays. You may also use an external self-timer hooked up to the camera itself. Your first successful northern lights picture will leave you in awe. Good luck and have fun capturing the aurora borealis!

Make sure to stop by the tourist information office in Trondheim where the staff will happily give you tips on how to find your way to the city’s best northern lights spots.

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Last updated:  2014-08-29
Aurora borealis over Trondheim - Photo: Øyvind Schei
Aurora borealis over Trondheim
Experience the northern lights over the Trondheim Fjord - Photo: Øyvind Schei
Experience the northern lights over the Trondheim Fjord
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Northern lights overlooking the Trondheim Fjord - Photo: Øyvind Schei

Experience the northern lights in Trondheim

The last couple of years have seen an increase in the amount of aurora borealis, more commonly known as northern lights, spotted in Trondheim.

Experience the northern lights in Trondheim

Source: Visitnorway

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