Where and when you can see the northern lights
Hunters of the Northern Lights: there is something desperate and romantic in this. If you love to travel, do not fear difficulties and want to see the most fascinating natural phenomenon with your own eyes, this guide article will help you make your dream come true. Let’s see where you can see the northern lights and what expert advice you should follow to witness a unique show.
General information about the natural phenomenon.
From a scientific point of view, this is a glow that appears at an altitude of 80 to 100 km as a result of the interaction of molecules in the atmosphere with particles charged with energy that penetrate the atmospheric envelope from space. In other words, the streams of sunlight, which reach the layers of the atmosphere, cause a bright glow of nitrogen and oxygen atoms.
It is difficult to see the northern lights at the magnetic pole in the southern hemisphere due to the fact that there are no suitable places for human habitation in these latitudes. In the northern part of the planet you can find dozens of places with ideal conditions to observe a unique phenomenon.
How to see the aurora – practical recommendations
Prepare for the fact that this is too rare. To see it, you will need to gather many circumstances in a single puzzle. You probably have to travel north in vain. However, following simple guidelines will increase your chances of success.
When is the glow
The season of heavenly brightness is called the period from the third decade of September until the end of March. The peak of activity occurs in the cold season, from November to February. In winter, the longest nights begin in the northern latitudes, from 18 to 20 hours each, so the slightest glow in the sky will be clearly noticed and you can take a magical and fascinating photo of the northern lights.
This is important! The more you move north, the more likely you will see the phenomenon in March and even in April. The ideal moment is a clear and icy night, from 21-00 to 23-30. At this time, the magnetic oscillations of the poles are maximum.
Observe the activity on the surface of the sun
This is the main condition for the appearance of a natural phenomenon in the sky. After solar activity, they should spend 2 to 5 days; During this time, the flow of energy reaches the surface of the Earth. The more powerful the increase, the greater the chances of success. There are websites on the Internet where relevant information is displayed.
This is important! The magnetic activity of the Sun is indicated by the K index, which varies from 1 to 9. A favorable condition for the appearance of luminescence is considered a K index of at least 4.
Get away from the city
In cities, a lot of electric lights that interrupt the contrast of the night sky and interfere with observation. In large cities, the probability of seeing the glow tends to zero, in which case you must leave the city at a distance of 50 to 70 km. If you are in a small town, it is enough to drive a distance of 5-10 km.
Only clear weather.
The northern lights appear at an altitude of 80-100 km, the cloud cover is lower, so the clouds completely hide the glare. In icy weather, as a rule, the cloud cover is minimal, respectively, the chances of success are greater.
Where can I see the northern lights in Russia?
In Russia, unlimited opportunities open for polar light hunters, because almost half of the country crosses the Arctic Circle. However, it is almost impossible to reach some places in winter and weather conditions become too harsh (temperatures below -45 degrees are not a test for weak travelers).
The best option is to fly from Moscow or St. Petersburg by plane to the regions of Arkhangelsk or Murmansk. Such a trip is not only convenient in terms of weather conditions, but it will cost less than a trip to Taimyr or Chukotka.
Northern Lights in Murmansk
This is the closest place to the capital of Russia. The train will last from 30 to 35 hours, and you will fly by plane in 2 hours. Here you can stay in any small town, the main thing is that in cold climates there is a transport connection. Remember that you have to drive a car.
Pay attention to the town of Teriberka, the town of Vidyaevo, the urban town of Pechenga. A plane ticket to Murmansk will cost an average of 7-8 thousand rubles, if still from Moscow. Then you need a car.
Do not be alarmed by the harsh temperatures, in the Murmansk region you can observe a wonderful phenomenon from September at a temperature just below +10 degrees.
At first glance, a scientific trip can become entertainment and visit the Khibiny mountains. This is a great place to ski in the mountains. Pay attention to the Kuelporr recreation center, you can get there from Kirovsk by snowmobile.
The main advantage of Arkhangelsk and the surrounding settlements is mostly clear weather, the northern lights are clear and bright. Travelers come here from September to April.
Many experts claim that even in the city itself you can see a glow in the sky, however, in terms of intensity and color saturation, it significantly loses its glow in the Murmansk region.
The route is best established through Moscow or St. Petersburg. The flight will cost 6-7 thousand rubles. The break diversifies a visit to the open-air sculpture museum. The best photos are taken on the north coast of Dvina.
Aurora in Yakutia
Here come people who are resistant to extremely low temperatures, because here is the epicenter of the coldest weather not only in Russia, but throughout the planet.
In anticipation of the northern lights, you can ski, go river rafting, climb the mountain peaks. Comfort fans will surely be interested in a cruise on the Lena River.
One of the proven places in Russia, where the northern lights are often found, is the Taimyr Nature Reserve. There are almost no traces of human activity. In the immediate vicinity of the conservation area, infrastructure is developed: river rafting, hiking and snowmobiling are carried out. If you have enough time and money in reserve, be sure to go to the administrative center of the reserve – Khatangu.