Ask most people about what’s on their “bucket list”, and you’ll probably find the Northern Lights mentioned somewhere in the conversation. This natural phenomenon is the result of charged particles from the sun colliding with gaseous particles in the atmosphere.
The outcome, which is also known as the Aurora Borealis, is a stunning display of colours as the sky becomes a dazzling light show.
While the phenomenon occurs all year round, you will need a dark and clear sky to get the best results. This can be achieved from late autumn to early spring along the Northern Hemisphere in places such as Finland, Sweden, Canada, Russia and Scotland, to name a few.
Even though many associate the Northern Lights with cold weather, the lengthy time period does allow the phenomenon to be enjoyed in warmer weather. A practical choice would be the spring months of March and April.
For those people a little further afield, there is another option: the Aurora Australis, commonly known as the Southern Lights. Not as popular as its northern counterpart, the Aurora Australis can be seen from March to September across high southern latitudes in Antarctica, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand and Australia.
The best places to see the lights in the south are Tasmania or New Zealand’s South Island, but this is under the same conditions as the Northern Lights. Clear skies, high-altitude vantage points and places with limited or no artificial light are all key elements to getting the best out of your experience.
Of the two, the Northern Lights would be the most popular due to the many options it offers when it comes to seeing them when compared with the limited number of places in the south. However, remember that wherever you choose to see these natural wonders give yourself three or four days to make sure the sun is at optimally effective and the skies are clear—nature isn’t fixed to your schedule, I’m afraid.
Photo credit: Pixabay