Image credits: Markku Inkila, Antti Pietakainen
Autumn and the Northen Lights - too often overlooked
The autumnal colours in Northern Scandinavia are an impressive spectacle in their own right. However, the prospect of seeing the Aurora Borealis dance above them is just one of the reasons that we’re passionate about proving to our clients that autumn is a magical time to visit.
Whilst the Aurora occurs all year round, in Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland, it isn’t visible in high summer because there is too much daylight. Not surprisingly, Aurora addicts in these parts of the world spend the entire summer longing for the darker skies of autumn.
Through our many visits to these countries, we’ve known for a long time that this season brings some amazing Northern Lights displays, however, we don’t just want you to take our word for it. We enlisted the help of two Aurora experts to explain the science behind the phenomenon. Professor Christopher T. Russell and Professor Emeritus Robert L. McPherron from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), have researched this field for years and they have helped us explain why autumn is so great for Northern Lights viewing in our blog here.About Autumn
The Aurora chasing season starts in earnest in September which can be an absolutely wonderful time to travel. The Finns call their short autumn “Ruska” a word which quite beautifully evokes imagery of the burnished reds, browns, yellows and golds. It is said that “Ruska” starts at 9 am on the 9th of September every year and lasts just a few short weeks but during this time, the Finnish forests and fells, the Swedish mountains and the steep-sided Norwegian fjords are all embellished by the colours of autumn.
If you don’t fancy the sub-zero temperatures associated with Northern Scandinavia in the middle of winter then September is the best time to go Aurora hunting. The temperatures will be starting to fall but remain comfortable, especially at night when you will be out and about hunting Lady Aurora.
What’s more, you may get to see the Aurora twice as it reflects in the waters of the lakes and rivers – something that wouldn’t happen when winter’s big freeze comes along. The autumn equinox in late September is known to produce more geomagnetic storms and amazing Northern Lights, and the favourable weather also usually means there is less cloud cover too.
Though snow activities are ruled out in the autumn, there are plenty of other options to fill the daylight hours. Walking and trekking, reindeer encounters, hiking with huskies, cultural visits, boat trips, museums and more depending on your chosen location.
Northern Lights displays in October
October shares many of the same advantages as September; warmer weather, clearer skies and fewer visitors.
Most of the leaves will have fallen and the landscape becomes a dramatic surrounding that may start to be covered with a light covering of frost. We have seen early snowfall at this time but there won’t be enough for any snow-based activities. However, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland all provide many other opportunities for you to explore the amazing scenery including hiking, wildlife encounters and museum visits.
The lakes and rivers will still be unfrozen in October so you can make the most of this on a boat trip. They also provide even better views if you see the Northern Lights reflected in their open waters.
As the UK’s dedicated Northern Lights holiday company, we’re passionate about providing our clients with the best chance of seeing the lights for themselves and as autumn continues to deliver amazing displays, we’ve designed a range of holidays for this time of year. View our autumn holidays here.