“Autumn really does produce a surplus of geomagnetic storms - almost twice the annual average.”
When you see a statement like that on NASA’s website you tend to sit up and take notice!
Dr David Hathaway at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center based on 75 years of historical records led him to surmise that geomagnetic activity is highest in March, April, September and October. In simple terms, it is the geomagnetic activity that causes the Northern Lights to appear in our night skies. Hence, the higher the frequency of geomagnetic storms, the greater the likelihood of an Auroral display.
Other reasons to travel in autumn
September in Northern Scandinavia brings those lovely burnished colours of autumn and the weather is a serious consideration if you hate the cold of mid-winter. This is mainly because:
- There tends to be less cloud cover obscuring the night sky and hiding the lights
- It isn’t as cold at night when you are out searching for the Aurora
- The lakes and rivers have not yet frozen and you can often see the Aurora reflected in their dark waters (a double Aurora!)
The Aurora is visible in Northern Scandinavia from late-August onwards. In Alaska and the Yukon, it can be seen earlier than that, but the same autumn principles apply.
September and October are too often overlooked as times to travel in search of the Aurora Borealis but, if you don’t fancy snow-based activities then we would strongly suggest that you look at our Autumn Northern Lights Holidays. With geomagnetic activity likely to be at its annual high, the chances of seeing the Aurora can only be enhanced.
Start your Autumn Northern Lights holiday here
Source: https://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2002/23sep_auroraseason, Geomagnetic activity from 1875 to 1927, from "Semiannual Variation of Geomagnetic Activity" by C.T. Russell and R.L. McPherron, JGR, 78(1), 92, 1973
Image credits: Markku Inkila