To experience the starry, limitless sky, and the unbelievable colours that move across the Arctic sky, few places on earth offer more ways to witness the northern lights than Norway.
3 fascinating facts about the aurora
1. The light show appears when charged particles from the sun are dragged into the atmosphere by the earth’s magnetic field and collide with nitrogen and oxygen atoms. This collision releases flashes of coloured lights – which we see as the northern lights.
2. The colour of the light depends on the type of atoms involved in the collision.
3. Aurora borealis isn’t the only light show the universe offers. The southern hemisphere has its own version called aurora australis – the southern lights.
Want to know more? Read more facts and fiction about the northern lights.
When and where can you see the northern lights?
Between late September and late March, Northern Norway is dark from early afternoon until late morning, and the northern lights frequently soar across the sky. Our bold claim is that this part of Norway, with its multiple islands, deep fjords and steep mountains, is among the world's most beautiful and interesting places to see the northern lights.
As hundreds of thousands of people live in this huge geographical area, the region of Northern Norway has everything from cities with a lively night scene and great museums to small fishing villages and vast, tranquil spaces without light pollution.
Explore the north
This means that in addition to hunting for the northern lights, you can go winter fishing, hiking, skiing, and dog sledding, experience the Sami culture, or join a whale or wildlife safari. Afterwards, you can relax in top-notch hotels and eat incredible local food. Or maybe you’ve joined a northern lights safari and get to eat your meal in a traditional lavvo?
However, the aurora shows up in other parts of the country as well from time to time, including areas such as Trøndelag and the southern parts of Norway, particularly during periods of increased solar activity.
What are the northern lights?
On a very basic level, the phenomenon is quite simple to explain. It is created from a collision between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the atmosphere of the earth.
The lights, which are also called aurora borealis, show up at night when the sky is dark. It’s like a celestial ballet of light dancing across the night sky, with a colour palette of green, blue, and sometimes even pink and violet.
The unique winter light
But even though you can’t take the lights for granted – it is, after all, a natural phenomenon, just like the weather – you are still guaranteed to experience magical light in Northern Norway all through the polar night. On clear days, you can see beautiful sunset colours in the south while the sky to the north is a deep midnight blue. In “the blue hour” at twilight, the snowy landscape is bathed in a glassy, deep blue colour.
And even if the Auroras don't dance, experiencing the starry, limitless sky can make you reconnect with the universe ...
Light pollution obscures the night sky in more than half of Europe. If you leave the lights of the city behind, you can see much more of our universe with the naked eye.
When can you see the auroras?
The aurora borealis can be seen when the sky is clear and dark. Peak time is between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m.
Statistically, springtime (March/April) and autumn (September/October) has the highest level of aurora activity. However, you will see it in November, December, January and February as well. Then, you just have to cross your fingers for a sun storm, sending out some magical particles in your direction...
Northern lights forecast
More things to do in Northern Norway
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