What is an aurora borealis?

An aurora borealis is a beautiful, colourful light phenomenon that occurs regularly in the night sky of the Northern Hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere, a similar phenomenon occurs: the aurora australis.

Both the aurora borealis and the aurora australis occur near the Earth’s magnetic poles, hence the generic term “aurora polaris”.

Aurora Borealis Forecast

Going on a trip to see the Northern Lights is a dream for many people. The aurora season in the countries concerned: Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Russia, Finland, USA, Alaska, Greenland, starts at the end of September and ends at the end of March. In the heart of winter between 11pm and 1am is the best time to observe the aurora.

Aurora forecasting allows you to move on the days when they will occur, in the places where they will be visible.

Auroreboreale.net offers an aurora forecast service.

Where to see aurora Borealis ?

It is possible to see the aurora in areas of the globe near the poles. North and South. However, the northern areas offer more land areas and therefore locations to see the aurora.
USA, Canada, Russia, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden.

They are called aurora borealis, but are also sometimes referred to as: aurora borealis, aurora borealis, northern light, northern light, dancing light, northern glow, polar glow, aurora australis in the southern hemisphere, aurora borealis on the net.


What causes the aurora borealis?

This is because they are a sign of a disturbance of the Earth’s magnetic field by the solar wind. The Earth is surrounded by a magnetic shield (the magnetosphere) that serves as its protection. This shield is deformed by the streams of matter expelled by the Sun, like a large soap bubble exposed to the wind. Behind our planet, on the side opposite the Sun, these deformations stretch the ‘bubble’ like a rubber band. When the ‘rubber band’ is released, particles are catapulted at high speed towards the Earth along the magnetic field lines that converge towards the Earth’s poles. They collide with atoms (hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, etc.) in the upper atmosphere (ionosphere), between 80 and 1 000 kilometres above our heads. When excited, these atoms emit green, red, pink or violet light.

Aurora borealis VS aurora australis

The aurora australis and the aurora borealis are polar lights. They occur around the poles of the planet Earth but also of other planets. The difference between these two auroras is the place and the period in which they are visible. The aurora australis is visible during the southern winter, from March to October, while the aurora borealis is visible during the northern winter from the end of September to the end of March. When the aurora is no longer visible in the south it appears in the north. However, just because they are not visible does not mean that they do not occur. The luminosity and the midnight suns during the polar summer forbid the vision of the aurora in the north as well as in the south.


What is the season for the aurora borealis?

Researchers have also found that auroral activity is cyclical, peaking about every 11 years. The next peak is in 2024. In northern Europe the aurora borealis are visible from the end of September to March.
Winter in the north is generally a good time to see the northern lights. The long periods of darkness and the frequency of clear nights provide many good opportunities to observe the aurora. Usually the best time of night (on a clear day) to watch for auroral displays is local midnight. To take aurora photos it is a good idea to be in the best season to get a good amount. The technique for photographing the aurora is simple, but you need to know it.

The aurora season in the northern hemisphere starts in September around the equinox and ends in March around the spring equinox. The best time is in the dead of winter between November and February.

The aurora australis season begins when the aurora borealis season ends.

For a northern honeymoon to see the Northern Lights, you should adapt your weekend or holiday to the Aurora period, from September to the end of March.


How to photograph the Northern Lights? Take a picture of the Northern Lights.

Capturing the magical moment of an aurora borealis apparition can be done with an iPhone, but taking a beautiful picture of the aurora borealis requires special equipment and settings. The maximum ISO setting on your camera is necessary to get good shots. The shutter speed must be adjusted, as well as the white balance.


Aurora borealis Forecast – Northern Lights KP Index

The aurora season is well known, but it does not happen every day! Universities scan space to measure solar wind activity and predict the aurora borealis or its probability at a given location on the globe. In Alaska and Canada, forecasting tools are used to monitor and predict northern activity. Norway, one of the countries most exposed to the aurora, also offers forecasting sites for northern activity.

The ultimate energy source for the aurora is the solar wind. When the solar wind is calm, auroras tend to be minimal; when the solar wind is strong and disturbed, there is a risk of intense aurora. The sun rotates on its own axis once every 27 days, so an active region that has produced disturbances that resulted in auroras could again cause auroras 27 days later. The solar wind takes about three days to reach the earth from the sun. Observing the sun and predicting solar wind disturbances resulting from events on the sun (such as flares or coronal mass ejections) provides information within days of possible auroral events

Aurora forecasting is a real science, but it can be summarised by understanding a few concepts, such as the KP index and the Aurora prediction maps. The KP index is the number observed to predict the occurrence of northern lights.

The Kp index describes the disturbance of the Earth’s magnetic field caused by the solar wind. The faster the solar wind blows, the greater the turbulence. The index ranges from 0, for low activity, to 9, which means that an intense geomagnetic storm is underway.

Index KP aurora forcast

Kp 0 – Calm – Oval aurora mainly in the north of Iceland. Faint aurorae visible in photographs, low in the northern sky
Kp 1 – Calm – Oval aurora over Iceland, faint and silent auroras visible to the naked eye low in the northern sky
Kp 2 – Quiet – The aurora is easily visible and becomes brighter and more dynamic
Kp 3 – Disinstalled – Bright auroras visible at zenith. Pale green colour more evident
Kp 4 – Active – Bright, constant and dynamic aurora visible. More colours start to appear
Kp 5 – Minor Storm – Bright, constant and colourful aurora display, red and purple colours appear. Aurora likely
Kp 6 – Moderate storm – Bright, dynamic and colourful aurora display. Probable coronal aurora. Memorable to those who witness it
Kp 7 – Strong storm – Bright, dynamic and colourful aurora. Visible in the southern sky. Aurora very likely.
Kp 8 – Severe storm – Bright, dynamic and colourful aurora. Aurora seen around 50° latitude
Kp 9 – Intense storm – Aurora seen around 40° latitude. Auroras and red crowns very likely. Most often caused by powerful coronal mass ejections.

The Aurora Borealis forecast is important if you are considering your trip and the best time to have your chances of seeing the aurora over two or three days. For a weekend or a simple 4 day trip, forecasting is necessary to see the northern sky light up.

Auroreboreale.net produce forecasting services by geographical area.