The aurora (the northern lights) one of several astronomical phenomena called polar lights (aurora polaris), are shafts or curtains of colored light visible on occasion in the night sky. It is the most interesting phenomena that people look forward to watching in the world.
Fairbanks is one of the best places in the world to view the northern lights as it’s located directly under the Auroral Oval. This ring-shaped zone sits over the Earth’s geomagnetic north pole, where aurora activity is concentrated. Visitors can expect to see the lights on an average of four out of five clear nights during aurora season, which lasts from Aug. 21 to April 21. Other activities visitors can enjoy in late summer include a ride on the Riverboat Discovery or panning for gold. For a festive holiday experience, visit the Santa Claus House in the city of North Pole (around 13 miles southeast of Fairbanks). Travelers can also see ice sculptures in February and March at the impressive World Ice Art Championships or take a dog sledding or snowmobiling tour. For excellent chances of aurora viewing, book accommodations at the upscale Akaurora Villa.
Lapland is located in the Arctic Circle in Northern Europe. The northern lights are visible approximately 200 nights a year from this region in Finland. Lapland is also known as the home of Santa Claus, the Sámi people (the only indigenous people in the European Union) and as many as 190,000 reindeer. Aurora chasers can expect to see the lights every other clear night between September and March in northern Lapland, especially when the stars are out. For a bucket list experience, watch the impressive light show from a glass igloo at Santa’s Hotel Aurora in Luosto. This resort town is approximately 70 miles north of the town of Rovaniemi and is set among the picturesque and hilly landscape of Pyhä-Luosto National Park.
September to April is the best time to chase the aurora borealis in Iceland. For optimum viewing away from the light pollution, head to Öskjuhlið. This densely wooded area in Reykjavik has walkways and paths where you can see the nighttime show. Atop of this forest sits Perlan, which is the only planetarium in the country and a museum featuring exhibits about Iceland. Don’t miss the panoramic views of the city from the observation deck on the fourth floor of Perlan. From it, visitors can see the Snæfellsjökull glacier, Keilir Volcano and the mountain of Reykjavik, Esja. While here, splurge on an overnight tour with Buubble.com. This experience includes several sightseeing spots and a night spent under the magical northern skies in a bubble at the 5 Million Star Hotel.
The city of Tromsø is the largest in Norway, so you might not think the light conditions would be optimal for viewing, but it is one of the best locations for seeing the northern lights.
Tromsø is uniquely situated on the auroral oval, where there are optimal conditions of solar wind and interplanetary magnetic fields that give this location the highest probability for travelers to see the light display. It helps that during the winter months there is only a few hours of daylight, so the window of total darkness is longer.
The northern lights are most visible during a window of time every 27 days, which has to do with the sun’s proximity to the Earth as it rotates. It is best to review the northern lights outlook for the region before you book your hotel and tours.
Greenland sees the night earlier than the rest of the world, and the spectacular Northern Lights can be seen as soon as it gets dark. If you have a dream to witness the natural phenomenon without getting a frostbite or hiking far into the wilderness, Greenland is the place to go. The winter season in Greenland is perfect to capture amazing photos of the Northern Lights.