Hunting for the Aurora Borealis?Here’s How Not to be Disappointed.
Hunting for the Aurora Borealis? Here’s How Not to be Disappointed.
Hunting for the Aurora Borealis or the Northern Lights is perhaps on every bucket list that I know of. It’s every traveller’s dream to see the aurora dance even for a split second on a cloudless night sky.
What more if you are able to bring home a souvenir photo with the Aurora Borealis dancing in the background. Winner!
When going on a trip to hunt for the Aurora Borealis, here’s something to keep in mind and set your expectations. So you still get that high after seeing it for a minute or so.
Do not make the Aurora Hunting your ultimate goal
This is so that you do not get disappointed when the aurora borealis doesn’t show up during your stay in the north pole. Book a dog sledding trip (another popular bucket list item) or a skiing trip. There’s so many winter activities to look forward to in the North Pole while you wait for darkness to fall. If you are staying in Abisko in northern Sweden, a day trip to Tromso, Norway is always a great idea. I saw some of my guesthouse mates join this trip during my stay in Abisko. Your aurora hunting trip is only for night time so what do you do for the rest of the days you are there?
Here are some suggestions you can check out for daytime activites in Abisko.
Visit during the Best Months
The peak season that the Aurora appears is January to March. Scientifically speaking, the aurora appears all throughout the year. But the bright lights of the summer makes it less visible to the naked eye. The best time to go hunting for aurora is around January to March. These months are the coldest and have the longest nights and clearer skies. Your success rate of seeing the aurora is higher during these months.
Download the Aurora Alerts Northern Lights app
This app provides aurora activity forecast as it happens. It has helpful graphs for aurora predictions and solar activity both in real-time. It also has options to send you alerts when the aurora activity is at its most active.
But do not fret if you see a weak green colour on the app. Why? Scroll down to number 6.
Download the Aurora Alerts Northern Lights app here
Check the Moon Phases
The aurora, when most active, is highly visible on a moonless night. But don’t let this stop you from going hunting. The full moon affects the aurora display if the activity is weak and the aurora is directly in front of the full moon.
This can be frustrating at times because all you see is some blurry green streaks but don’t fret. You can still take stunning photos of the full moon plus the weak green streaks across the sky.
The aurora is most beautiful behind the lens. The bright green and different colours that you see on the internet and Youtube are visible only thru the camera lens. When you see the aurora appear like streaks in the sky, it’s not all bright and green. It’s cloudy and blurry and it may take a while for your eyes to adjust to darkness before you see some aurora patterns.
Your camera lens are more sensitive to the light than your naked eye. So your photographs may be brighter and more beautiful than what you actually experienced.
The Weather Patterns
The weather pattern changes every 5 minutes or so. Maybe more frequent than that. The aurora may appear and dance for a split second and be gone again. The clouds also move fast.
It may get cloudy at times and get real clear the next minute. I saw the Aurora for 2 nights, but on both nights, the clouds were moving fast across the starry sky.
If the lodge or your guesthouse offers overalls and boots, wear it. You might be warm while still walking around outdoors, but when riding the snowmobiles, the cold wind will be blowing on your face.
And when you finally reach the clearing where you will wait for the aurora to appear, the temperatures can drop up to minus 40.
So make sure you are warm. Bring a thermos of hot tea if you can.
A bit of trivia though, they do make some crashing metallic sound when they dance!
When I was still in the planning stage for my Aurora Hunting Tour, I had so many sleepless nights of excitement. When I finally saw it, it was so beautiful that my jaw hung open for a minute or more in amazement. But not as beautiful as the photos on the internet. It was cloudy and blurry. And I saw it only for a minute. I wasn’t disappointed at all. Mind you. I was like, I thought it would be greener and longer than that!
At least I experienced it!
Seen the Aurora Borealis, check!
This article was written by Carla Abanes from Just Travelling Solo
Essential Travel Guides
Hunting for the Aurora Borealis
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