As you may have heard or read, Northern Lights is a natural phenomenon that no one can predict and therefore guarantee you. However, there are a few things (except the obvious, that is, luck) that you should take into consideration before starting your adventure on the hunt of Sella, and in order to maximize the chances of seeing it!
What is the best time of year? – According to a general rule, the period from mid-September to the end of March is by far the best season in terms of weather conditions. After extensive personal research, I would like to offer you the period from late September to mid-October. And that’s because:
As early as September, the nights are getting bigger, the sky is still free of clouds and the lack of snow (Note: the nights are darker without snow) are factors that make this period as the most favorable.
It is scientifically proven that during this time the geomagnetic activity that creates the phenomenon is extremely high.
Another advantage for the autumn is the fact that the cold of the night is still at a tolerable level. This will allow you to stay more comfortable outdoors for as long as you need it (and believe me, you will definitely need it!) Chasing but also – albeit inexplicably – admiring the Northern Lights.
The lack of ice in the lakes and rivers will give you amazing photos with the reflection of Selaus on the water.
And of course, the most important! Autumn is considered a touristy holiday season, which will make your trip even more economical.
What is the best area? – The North Sella Region extends over Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Greenland and Canada, giving you a wealth of choices! Start by selecting your favorite destination and then search for the exact location on the map where you would like to visit, while also trying your luck! Personally, I have traveled (and I have seen the Northern Lights successfully) both in Iceland and Finland. But for the purposes of this article, I will concentrate on my most recent visit and give you some tips on Finland!
The ideal place in Finland is Lapland, just above the Arctic Circle. And the Village of Santa Claus or the (most economical) city of Rovaniemi can also be an ideal base for your trip. In both of these areas, visitors are able to fill their day with a host of activities while waiting for the perfect night where North Sella will shine over the Finnish sky!
As unbelievable as it may be, as the light pollution of the cities makes the phenomenon less visible, it is a fact that the North Selo’s visibility has been repeatedly reported even in the center of Rovaniemi. Something I can confirm myself, since the saddle truly shone over the sky of the city on the night of October 7 and while we were there too!
Information on the activity and visibility of North Sella – Speaking of a phenomenon that is a combination of geomagnetic activity and weather conditions, it goes without saying that any forecast gains value in the particular area that we will be in and only a few hours before the phenomenon develops. Having said that, it is good to equip your mobile with two extremely useful applications:
Aurora – This app automatically locates your location and provides real-time statistics, indices, and a map of Cella’s activity on a global scale! At the same time, the probability of visibility of the phenomenon in current and future time is calculated, and the best locations to see North Sella at the moment are highlighted.
nlalert.fi – This application uses a network of sensors that are spread across Lapland to send real-time alerts to users whenever the Northern Lights are visible in the Finnish sky! This application can also give you a prediction for geomagnetic activity in the area, weather conditions and hence the chance of visibility of North Sella.
How much will it cost me to see the Northern Lights – As the phenomenon is unpredictable by nature no one can guarantee that you will see it. Therefore, my personal suggestion is to organize a trip without having the Northern Lights as your only goal. This way, in the unfortunate case that Sella does not appear, at least you will not take the cost of the entire trip as a great loss.
But let’s think positively and suppose you will be lucky on your side! How much will it cost to see the Northern Lights? The good news is that here you have a variety of choices:
You can join a group tour. In this case, they usually receive from your accommodation, you are offered special warm clothes and then you are taken to the best spots in the area from where you can potentially watch the North Lights. Depending on the type of excursion you choose, you may include a free BBQ and free photo shoot under the saddle. There are also excursions that allow you to ride a snowmobile, take a boat ride or even float in a special outfit on a lake! The simplest and therefore more economic excursion will cost you around 65 € per person.
Alternatively, you can drive and search for the saddle yourself. In this case, make sure you have done extensive research on the areas with the best visibility, make sure your clothes are warm enough and (depending on the weather) prepare to ride the snow. This particular task has the unique cost of renting and driving the car, but to increase your chances, make sure you have previously checked the forecast for North Sella’s visibility that night.
Then look for a place that will offer you a dark and wide panorama. If you are going to Finnish Lapland, I would like to offer you a very nice spot on the beach of Lake Norvajarvi. Here you will find a wooden hut made available for public use, which gives you the advantage of being able to fire to warm up! In addition, in the hut you will find a basic equipment to make your own BBQ! Make sure you bring the food you will cook !!!
Book Pray that the Northern Lights will be visible from the city center! With no cost to you!
your stay in a glass jug. Glass jugs are very popular throughout Lapland, but at the same time very expensive! These are suites with glass walls or ceilings that offer wonderful views of the night sky (and well-known in the North Side) from the warmth and comfort of your bed! This is clearly the most luxurious option, so be prepared to pay between 250-500 € per igloo (or even higher in high season!).
Is the Northern Lights as impressive as it can be seen in the photos? – Yes and no. From my personal experience, the colors of the North Saddle look much dull with the naked eye than through the lens of a camera and consequently in the photos. Instead of the bright green color that we all expect to see, our eyes actually “read” a dull white color, several (perhaps 50) shades of gray, a silver glow and at best a pale green color. It is good to know all of this so that you are prepared for everything!
But before you start thinking that the Celebration is a Photoshop effect (which is by no means the case), it’s important to understand that there are some limitations on what our eyes can see in the dark, compared to what they can “capture” a camera. The camera sensor gives a more dynamic viewing angle in low light conditions than human eyes. And that’s why Northern Lights will always look greener through the camera (or photos) than in the naked eye.
I really hope you never get disappointed! Why the North Lounge remains impressive in its own unique way. And most importantly, this spectacle in this respect is different every time! Having already seen the Northern Lights twice, I can share two completely different experiences with you!
The first time the Sela gradually lit the sky creating a perfect arc-shaped arc in about 20 minutes. The second time the lights moved along the sky with a steady speed that really resembled the “dance” everyone talks about! In both cases we were stunned, staring at what was happening, and without any interest in the hue or intensity of the colors.
On the way back, the most important thing we had with us was by no means the perfect photos we would show our friends and followers at Instagram but the fact that we managed to get there and admire this wonderful miracle of nature with our own eyes!
For the end, some additional interesting information about the Northern Lights:
The phenomenon may take from a few minutes, up to half an hour or sometimes even more!
The saddle may be visible in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Aurora Borealis refers to the phenomenon of the North, while Aurora Australis in the South.
The ideal place to see the Northern Lights in Europe is Tromso, Norway, where climatic conditions allow it (dark, no clouds), the saddle is visible at 100%. Note: In Rovaniemi, Finland, the percentage of Selaos is 50%.
AUTHOR: Stavroula Anagnostopoulou.
SPECIAL THANKS TO travelvibe.eu