Ladies and gentlemen, tonight’s contest is to decide the celestial heavyweight championship of the year.
In the blue corner; The Northern Lights!!
In the red corner; The biggest moon for 70 years!!!!
A recent trip to the Nordland Archipelago once again raised the thorny issue of the impact a full moon has on the Northern Lights.
To be honest, the whole discussion has left our Norwegian friends somewhat bemused and howling at a full moon for somewhat less traditional reasons.
As always, I’d made sure that I arrived in good time for dinner and as we sat down, I mentioned to my hosts that both the auroral and weather forecasts boded well for some Northern Lights spotting later that evening.
“But there is a full moon, you can’t possibly see the Northern Lights when there is a full moon!!” came the response dripping frustration and sarcasm in equal measure.
There is a myth perpetuated on the internet that you cannot see the Aurora Borealis when there is a full moon, it is nonsense and it’s driving the locals mad. Look at the night sky, it is vast. Look at the moon in the night sky, it is tiny.
The essence of it is that a full moon will only diminish your viewing pleasure if it is directly behind a low intensity Aurora which is often not much more than a somewhat underwhelming smudge of green light.
Every time we talk to our partners in the Aurora Zone they are increasingly exasperated by this fiction, so much so that it became a running joke during my recent trip to Norway. As we stood outside the restaurant later that evening gazing at the Aurora Borealis shimmering across the Norwegian firmament, one of my hosts turned to me and whispered, “Of course, you can’t see those lights you are looking at, there’s a full moon!!”. So, if only to save our Norwegian partners from further exasperation, please don’t believe everything you read about the Northern Lights and a full moon.