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Two people camping under the northern lights in Lofoten, Norway
Northern lights still going strong in Northern Norway.
Photo: Alex Conu / Visitnorway.com
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No need to worry: There won’t be less northern light in Northern Norway in the years to come, according to solar experts.

Tourists flock to Northern Norway to experience the magical northern lights. Yet, there are some who claim that we won’t see much of the glimmering phenomenon in the years to come because the sun is moving towards a more quiet phase. However, according to several Norwegian solar experts, this won’t affect Northern Norway.

“It is true that the solar activity has reached its peak and is in a declining phase. This means that we probably will have fewer observations of northern light in Southern Norway”, says Pål Brekke, solar researcher at The Norwegian Space Center.

“But as for Northern Norway, you won’t notice any difference”.

The sun has an 11-year solar cycle. In 2013, the activity reached its maximum and is currently going down. This means that it will keep declining during the next three to four years before it starts to increase again. And the solar activity affects the northern lights: An active sun triggers solar storms and other processes, which in turn creates intense northern lights, even on lower latitudes.

“But in Northern Norway, the northern lights will always be present regardless of the solar activity. This is due to the auroral oval, known as the northern lights belt, which stretches along the coast of Northern Norway”, Brekke says.

Auroral oval

Auroral oval.
Photo: NASA

This is further confirmed by the retired northern lights researcher Truls Lynne Hansen at the Northern Lights Observatory in Tromsø.

“Scientists in Northern Finland, close to the Norwegian border, have measured the actual eruptions over a long period of time and through many 11-year cycles. They have found no correlation between these cycles and what you actually see under the northern lights oval”, Lynne Hansen says to nordnorge.com, the official travel website for Northern Norway.

In addition to Northern Norway, places along the northern lights belt such as Iceland and parts of Canada and Alaska will probably see just as much of the northern light as before.

“There’s no need to worry about the solar activity. Northern Norway will still be one of the best places in the world to experience the northern lights”, says Asgeir Brekke, who has researched the northern lights for 25 years.

“So you can guarantee tourists amazing northern lights when they visit the north?”

“One can never quite predict the sun. And that’s what makes the northern lights so exciting: it must be chased.”

Lyngenfjord

Lyngenfjord.
Photo: Jan R. Olsen
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