Everyone knows about the aurora. Many dream of it, but few have truly experienced it. This spectacle of nature is difficult to access and only the luckiest manage to discover it and marvel at it. Indeed, the auroras are not common. So, you have to go look for them thousands of kilometers away to observe them.
Imagine yourself for a few moments in a place far from any population, in the dark, in silence and seeing light appear little by little in the sky. This light intensifies and you can no longer take your eyes off this marvel of nature… This is what awaits you if you are about to go hunting for the polar auroras. But be careful, it’s not an easy task and patience will be the key word!
- How does this phenomenon arise?
- Where to see the aurora
- Our advice to make this experience even more beautiful
How does this phenomenon arise?
Like many natural phenomena, the polar auroras have a scientific explanation. They are caused by solar winds . During solar storms, particles are expelled at about 400 kilometers per second and are deflected by our atmosphere. On the other hand, some of these particles manage to pass through weak points at the north and south poles. It is then when these particles come into contact with terrestrial atoms and molecules that the coloring appears in the sky.
Where to see the aurora
The Northern Lights occur primarily around the North Pole . Around the south pole , this phenomenon is called the aurora australis . If you hope to see one, you will therefore have to get closer to the north or south of the globe, either the Nordic countries (Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden) or Antarctica and the countries of the extreme south (Patagonia, south of Argentina or Chile, countries in southern Oceania). On the other hand, there is no need to go to the poles, because the polar auroras do not occur directly above them, but around them.
To admire this spectacle, several criteria must be met. First of all, there must be no light pollution. It is therefore necessary to move away from cities and populations. Then, there shouldn’t be any clouds in the sky and there shouldn’t be a full moon.
Our advice to make this experience even more beautiful
The ideal times
Although the auroras occur throughout the year, they are more visible during certain periods.
For the Northern Lights, it is best to go there outside of summer, because during this season, the hours of darkness are not enough to observe them. So prefer to go to the Nordic countries between the end of September and the beginning of April .
Regarding the aurora australis, it is best to go near the south pole during the austral winter (between May and October) .
Organize to optimize your chances
To put the odds on your side to observe a polar aurora, you can choose to trust a specialized agency on site or go hunting for them on your own . If you decide to go alone, try to organize yourself and seek advice from the local population in order to find the ideal spot for the observation. Excursions usually last several long hours . So plan for very warm food and clothes.