Aurora borealis or as many of you know her as northern lights. It is a natural phenomenon that you can spot in the dark sky, which is very active in the poles during wintertime when the sky is dark and creates some impressive green, purple, red, or blue lights dancing in every direction. Unfortunately, there are multiple parameters to see them, and we will explain them to you now.
The aurora displayed when the solar wind strikes atoms in the magnetosphere. The disturbance will cause the electrons in the atoms and move to higher-energy level once the electrons drop back to the lower level it will cause a fantastic light on the sky, and that’s how aurora borealis created.
After the scientist introduction, let's talk about the different parameters that you will have to look at to be able to see northern lights, and all of them together gives you a chance to see it during your chasing night.
The KP index is one of the most known data for aurora. Related to the disturbance in the Earth's Magnetic field, it expresses the scale of activity on a level from 0 to 9. The higher it is, the more chance you will have to see the aurora.
When you are walking outside, and it gets windier, there is more chance that you notice it and feels it. It's the same for solar wind; the faster it gets, the more likely aurora will be bright, moving, and that you will see it.
Planet earth has two poles: north and south. Let's take an example when you have two magnets, and you bring them close to each other, they automatically attract themselves. It happens the same when the north-south orientation of the interplanetary magnetic field is pointing southward. It will attract the Earth's magnetosphere that is looking northward, which will perform destruction with the Earth's magnetic field and allow particle strikes with oxygen and nitrogen atoms to sprinkles down on our atmosphere and beam lights, which we see as aurora.
The clouds coverage forecast will help you to find the best position to spot the Northern Lights. With it, you can locate the cloud’s movement direction, and your chance to see the Northern lights will be higher when the sky is clear.
Finally, the weather is an important value to look after. You don't want to go out chasing Northern Lights when there is storm alert in your area. Be careful, and drive safely, and stay home when the condition is too dangerous!
You can find the aurora borealis in the high-altitudes regions such as Iceland, Alaska, Canada, Norway, and many great places that are located above 60 altitudes.
KP index is an important thing when it comes to seeing a northern light, but if the clouds are thick, you will hardly see one. The best way to locate the Northern lights is to find where the clouds coverage is clear, and the possibility to see them will be higher on that location. Besides the cloud coverage, another thing to have in mind when hunting is that you should be careful with light pollution. Many may have wondered if it’s possible to see the aurora in Reykjavik? Yes, sometimes you can spot them accidentally in the capital city. Still, there are many short drive places that you can locate them better, such as the Grótta Lighthouse is one of the accessible locations nearby Reykjavík downtown.
You can spot the northern light in Iceland easily in the winter, where the sky is clear. By winter, we meant from late august to the beginning of April. Thanks to the short sunlight hours, you might be able to spot the northern light starting from when the sun is completely set.
Wondering what is hello aurora and what this friend will help your life easier when it comes to northern lights hunting?
hello aurora is a mobile application that will act as your best friend when it comes to finding northern lights in Iceland. Many of you may feel exhausted and bored when trying to understand the possibility of seeing the Northern lights. You can forget about the unnecessary worries now! Because this friend will teach you how to understand the Northern lights and what is the chance of seeing the northern light on your current location in the easiest way.
If you are wandering around Iceland in the cold winter night, you would probably like to download this northern lights tracker and bring them around with you on your trip to Iceland.
Jérémy is a front-end developer in Reykjavík; he has worked in Paris as a UI/UX Designer for a few years before he moved to this magical country of Iceland! You can follow him on Instagram, Facebook, Github and his portfolio.
Pidsinee has been working in digital - marketing and has a degree in business administration. She loves to eat but also enjoys hiking and looking at aurora borealis. You can follow her on Instagram.
The idea of hello aurora started from Jérémy’s experience of using so many complicated sources(applications and websites) to chase the northern lights. Therefore he created hello aurora firstly to make it easier for himself and with the hope that it might help other people who as well.