A Spring calendar points to Autumn 2022 being highly rewarding for Aurora Hunters
Regular readers of our blogs will know that the weeks around the March and September Equinoxes can be a tremendously fulfilling times to go in search of the Northern Lights. We have been seeking the Aurora for well over a decade and in terms of Solar activity, March and April 2022 were unprecedented. The Sun is in the upwards stages of its activity cycle and as that activity increases, there is no reason to suggest that September and October won’t be as good, if not better, than March and April!
We receive regular emails from a website called Space Weather* updating us on Solar and Auroral events. Having recommended March for so long, we were delighted to read a series of messages alerting us to the fact that the Spring Equinox was indeed living up to our lofty expectations.
Unfortunately, we are yet to come across Aurora Huskies that can sense when the Northern Lights will appear! However, if we ever do come across them, then you will be the first to know.
Although these huskies might not be real, we are always looking for ways to develop our holidays – here are a few of our favourite things you can do on an Aurora Zone holiday.
(Spoiler Alert – No made-up animals included)
March is the best time to see the Northern Lights
However, despite numerous blogs, interviews, and social media output, frustratingly, I have never been able to convince our clientele about the merits of the year’s third month. I honestly do not understand why but, the best month for hunting the Northern Lights remains one of our quietest aurora chasing months.
It is baffling.
The scientific evidence is compelling and includes painstaking research from NASA proving that geomagnetic activity is historically at its highest in the weeks around the spring equinox (20 March 2022). What does geomagnetic activity make? That’s right, the Aurora Borealis.
“It’s been absolutely relentless and, it’s not just the frequency but also the intensity. I grew up and lived here all my life and have never experienced such an amazing Aurora season.” - Jouko Lappalainen
It’s safe to say that this Aurora hunting season has been the best in living memory. The Aurora has appeared in the Arctic night sky far, far more often than anybody (even NASA sponsored scientists!) believed possible. What’s more, many of these displays have been spectacular with myriad coloured lights blazing trails across the heavens and leaving even seasoned Aurora Guides spellbound and awestruck.
(Image: Muotka, Credit: @ Bolephotography)
We’ve written elsewhere about the allures of Autumn up there in the Auroral Zone so, here are our Top Ten Reasons for Aurora Hunting in March. Some are based in science; some are for aesthetic reasons and others are just plain common sense.
Whichever reason you pick, we think you will be making a wise decision to travel in March. There’s always a clamour here in The Aurora Zone office when trips become available, and that clamour is particularly loud when March is on offer. It is a wonderful time to visit the Arctic and chase down those heavenly lights.
The Aurora Borealis comes in many shapes, sizes, and colours. It can appear as a totally unremarkable static green/grey smudge, or it can fill the whole sky with curtains of shimmering multi-coloured light.
In a decade of Aurora hunting, we have seen them all and every display leaves an impression. Here are 10 of our best Aurora Moments from the last decade.
When fully qualified and dauntingly clever people such as Jyrki Manninen, Deputy Director of the Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory in Finnish Lapland comment on the prospects for the new Aurora season, our ears prick up and we listen.
An article in the Finnish press on 31 August 2021 asked Manninen for his expert opinion on one of, if not the most, asked questions regarding the Aurora Borealis.
When is the best time to see the Northern Lights?
It’s amazing the lengths that people will go to in order to see the Aurora Borealis.
Every year, we set our partners up in the Aurora Zone the challenge of sending us images of the first Auroral displays of the new season. This year, our long-term partner Markku Inkila was well and truly up for the challenge, and he wasn’t going to allow anybody to steal his thunder.
Markku, took himself and his camera into the wilderness surrounding his home in northeast Finland and spent the next 6 (yes SIX!!) hours scouring the northern skies for signs of wraith-like green lights.
Initially, his dedication yielded no reward, and he was worried that the imminent arrival of morning’s daylight would obscure the lights if they did occur. However, as is often the case with the Northern Lights, patience was rewarded. Not long before dawn, he noticed wispy green lights appearing in the sky.
Autumnal Colour during Daylight Hours
It is jokingly said that autumn in Finnish Lapland starts at 9 am on the 9th day of the 9th month and lasts for exactly three weeks. Clearly, this isn’t an exact science and with the climate seemingly changing on an almost daily basis, those dates should not be taken as fact.
What is certain is that if you time your trip to Lapland well then you can expect all the wonderful colours we associate with autumn during the day and dancing celestial lights once darkness falls.
Much of Finnish Lapland is covered by forests and fells and in autumn the landscapes are bathed in burnished shades of orange, gold, brown, ochre and myriad others. Indeed, the colours closely match those of the traditional dress worn by the indigenous Sami people.
In just a few weeks, the 24 hours of daylight from the Midnight Sun will begin to dissipate and the northern skies will grow darker as autumn approaches.
The Midnight Sun is something to behold but it doesn’t half frustrate Aurora hunters in the Nordic countries because constant daylight renders the Northern Lights invisible. The lights are there, the displays are happening but unfortunately, they are invisible to the human eye.
All changes in mid to late-August as the days grow shorter and the nights become darker. There’s always excitement in Aurora hunting circles as to where the first displays of the new season will appear and, who will capture the phenomenon.
Whoever does see them first will have to be up pretty late at night because in late August there remains a large amount of residual light even after sunset. It is only in September when true darkness prevails and the Aurora presents itself in its full glory.
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