View Full Version : Best place to see Northern Lights in February

4th Jan 2009, 22:47
Hello all...can anyone recommend anywhere to go in february to see the northern lights? I imagine the obvious of Canada, Scandinavia, Iceland...but is there anywhere really obvious but quite reasonable price wise? Or is it a case of finding some random village in middle of nowhere in scandinavia. Since live in UK i'd imagine the likes of Norway/Finland would be easiest and cheapest?

Any advice greatly appreciated!

Union Jack
4th Jan 2009, 22:51
..... but is there anywhere really obvious but quite reasonable price wise?

Aberdeen - seriously!:ok:


4th Jan 2009, 22:55
Pretty much anywhere north of 60, but choose a small town far far away from city lights or go camping (well prepared, of course). Camping in -40 can be excellent if well prepared.

4th Jan 2009, 23:34
Pretty much anywhere north of 60, but choose a small town far far away from city lights or go camping (well prepared, of course). Camping in -40 can be excellent if well prepared.

I know...but i hate camping...with a passion. Was thinking more along lines or a well know town or city where you can see them...like helsinki?

5th Jan 2009, 00:00
All the places others have said....BUT for you to see the Aurora, there has to be one and there's the problem.

With the current absence of sunspot activity, the conditions for the Aurora are not there.

We're currently in the trough of the sunspot activity cycle (approx 11 years between peaks) and traditionally there are few sunspots in this time anyway, but in the last couple of years, the activity has been VERY low indeed.
In fact, much lower than many previous cycle troughs and the re-emergence is slow in happening, so you might need to wait about four years before you can expect to go North and see the lights.

uffington sb
5th Jan 2009, 00:02
Try Tromso in Norway.
There you will find the Northern Lights museum and some very good trips/guides etc.
Just google tromso northern lights.

p.s. That's where Joanna Lumley went but don't expect such a spectacular light show as she 'saw', as they were very much enhanced.

5th Jan 2009, 03:44
Aberdeen has a pub called the Northern Lights and there is even a song The Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen.Although nowdays you need to get away from all the light pollution from the city for a good show of the multi -coloured lights dancing across the sky .Some nights they are just green ,but sometimes the red dancers come out and it is spectacular.
If Money is no object try Resolute,Northern Canada ,it has twenty four hour darkness in Febuary so not only will you see the northern lights to the south of the town and Polar bears at the dump at midnight every night .You can set your watch by it ,big polar bears as well:}:}

5th Jan 2009, 06:27
My son rates Darwin casino. And the climate is much friendlier!

Ancient Mariner
5th Jan 2009, 06:47
Tromsų, Norway.
Reasons, see above plus great nightlife, spectacular landing at Langnes airport and there's no polar bears there to disturb you. Except the stuffed one in the main street.
Trust me, I was born there. ;)

BAMRA wake up
5th Jan 2009, 08:39
Within Europe Finland is probably the best location. It's away from the Atlantic and cloudy weather, especially if there's a big cold anticyclone over eastern Scandinavia, plenty of budget flights and good internal transport links. You could jet off at short notice if the weather is clear and the aurora is forecast to occur. Mind you for the same money you could head south to 25C in the Canaries!

5th Jan 2009, 09:58



It is one of those things you must see in your lifetime.

5th Jan 2009, 10:04
Beautiful photos RT. :ok:

5th Jan 2009, 10:09
Tromsų, Norway

That sounds really good actually :ok:

Those pics are fantastic, Northern lights are something i want to see before i die...although im not expecting that any time soon! Bit worried about previous post about lack of the lights due to sun spots. I wouldnt have thought lack of sun spots would have affected it, i was under the impression that the solar winds that interact with the earths atmosphere are pretty much a constant...although obviously will have different intensities during the sun's cycle....

5th Jan 2009, 10:13
It's the earth's magnetic field that creates them tho' I'm not sure what effect sun spots have on that.

Not googling.

Ancient Mariner
5th Jan 2009, 10:39
This link Northern Lights (http://www.tgo.uit.no/articl/North_Light.html) may or may not include other useful links.

5th Jan 2009, 12:22
moving pic of the southern version....


5th Jan 2009, 13:27
For all I know, northern Norway may be the best viewing spot for European. You'll note that the aurora is more or less centered on the magnetic north pole in NW Greenland. This makes a lot of Canada close to the auroral oval. Alaska is as well.
NOAA POES Auroral Activity (http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/pmap/)
SWPC Tips on Viewing the Aurora (http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/Aurora/index.html)

5th Jan 2009, 14:02
So I should get a good chance on a flight from Helsinki to Seoul in February then?

5th Jan 2009, 14:58
well tromso or iceland seem to be best bets methinks....now just how to find cheapest way of getting there!

Flap 5
5th Jan 2009, 16:16
This is a pretty good BBC programme. Joanna gets to see the aurora toward the end of the programme.

BBC iPlayer - Joanna Lumley in the Land of the Northern Lights (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00dhv1n/Joanna_Lumley_in_the_Land_of_the_Northern_Lights/)

5th Jan 2009, 17:04
Yeah i saw it...one of the things that got it in my head to do it!

5th Jan 2009, 17:35
There was one night I saw them in suburban Toronto, but the farther North, the more likely.

I spotted an aurora over the Ontario French River in Spring and over Takkakaw Falls BC campground in mid-Summer -- both places in the middle of nowhere with no light pollution.

Japanese tourists fly in to Yellowknife in the Winter for aurora viewing.

Airfares to Iqaluit, Resolute and Yellowknife are pretty stiff; perhaps the cheapest high latitude spot in NA would be Anchorage.

Iceland is cheap these days:E

10th Jan 2009, 01:54
Iceland should be cheap, very true... I wonder why...:*
If you decide on Iceland then plan to go outside Reykjavik. The best part to see and enjoy the northern lights would be the northern part of Iceland., around Akureyri or Lake Myvatn. Both beautyful places with fantastic snow and nature.

uffington sb
10th Jan 2009, 07:11
This is something you might not be able to plan too far in advance as you need to check the weather and go when there's a nice big High over your viewing point, Tromso, giving clear but cold nights. You might want to check the moon situation as any other light, cultural or lunar, dilutes the effect. To find out moon rise/sets etc, try Google as there are several websites that give this for any location on earth. As mentioned earlier, the more sun spots the better the display, so check out space weather.com (I think) for solar activity and predictions.
And don't expect to see such a display as JL, as I think there was a bit of photographic enhancement going on there!!

BTW. Although I've seen the NL's many a time from Bardufoss, the best showing was here in dear old blighty, cycling back from RAF Wittering to Peterborough at Bainton village in the late 90's or 2000, anyone else remember? Then it wasn't the traditional curtain display, but the whole northern hemisphere lit up like a fan with brilliant colours, reds,greens, orange etc. I'd never seen anything like it.

p.s. wrap up warm!! :ok:

BAMRA wake up
10th Jan 2009, 09:26
Lots of good advice from uffington sb

Tromso is ok but coastal and therefore prone to cloudiness. Don't rule out Kiruna in Sweden, that's where their official observatory is due to the frequency of the aurora and clear skies. Likewise Rovaneimi in Finland. Both easily within reach of the UK.

Link to the all sky camera at Kiruna:

Real time data from the Kiruna All-Sky Camera (http://www.irf.se/allsky/rtasc.php)

10th Jan 2009, 10:29
Saw them in Alta, Norway in 2007. :ok:
Also saw them again at FL380 on the way to Keflavic ferrying CS-DRW March 2007.

Off to Bjorkliden (via Kiruna) in March. :ok: