After the bright nights of summer, the dark of autumn and winter descends, but the sombre season has its own rewards.
Only in the dark can we admire the celestial pyrotechnics. The aurora borealis is no stranger to the starlit skies of Finnish Lapland, far from the equator.
The Northern Lights can be seen from the end of August right up to the beginning of April. The best time to see them is around midnight when the sky is clear and the land is dark. Street lamps, yard lights and other light pollution from human habitation obscure their glory.
The aurora can be elusive, but various services are available to help visitors find and enjoy it. There are several phone apps that can tell when the aurora is active; just search for “Northern Lights” in your app store. The Finnish Meteorological Institute maintains its own space weather service. Auroras result from disturbances in the magnetosphere caused by solar wind. Many holiday centre hotels in Lapland have their own Northern Lights alarm, which can be set to wake you as soon as the phenomenon starts to spread across the sky.
By Maria Öfverström, ThisisFINLAND Magazine 2021