Late last summer we speculated as to whether the 2014/15 Northern Lights season could match those of the previous two years which had delivered some unforgettable displays.
In June 2014, NASA confirmed that the Sun had reached the peak of its current solar cycle and, rather excitingly, geophysical research suggested that the declining period of a solar cycle often coincides with significant solar events. There's nothing that gets an Aurora hunter more excited than increased solar activity so we thought we would ask a couple of the best in the business to review the season so far. It seems that it has more than lived up to expectations.
Markku Inkila lives near Ivalo in North East Finland and is, without any doubt, one of Scandinavia's most knowledgeable and enthusiastic Northern Lights guides. We asked him to sum up the season using his own words and a couple of images:
This autumn was crazy, 12 nights straight and we saw the Northern Lights every night. During the winter we have seen lights every clear night and that is awesome! There has been lots of talk about solar maximum that was supposed to be last year and the year before, but the thing is that we are in the middle of the "aurora zone" so it doesn't matter what year it is, we see them nearly every day when it's clear sky.
Image: Markku Inkila & www.theaurorazone.com
Markku Inkila oversees 6 and 4-night Northern Lights hunting trips for The Aurora Zone in Nellim, Finland.
In neighbouring Sweden, American Chad Blakley has been leading Aurora hunting groups for several years, and despite having witnessed more Northern Lights than you and I have had hot dinners, this season has got Chad particularly enthused.
It has been an absolutely amazing season so far! The 2014/15 aurora season started with a bang earlier this autumn and has continued to impress for the last several months. I can honestly say that we have seen more "powerful" displays this season than the previous two or three seasons combined – and it is only January! It looks like the rest of our guests are in for a real treat!
Judging by the image he sent us, it's not just Chad who is gazing skyward.
Image: Chad Blakley – Lights Over Lapland
Chad Blakley provides Northern Lights hunting and photography for www.theaurorazone.com in Abisko, Sweden.