In case you're arranging a Northern Lights trip you'll normally need to know a bit about them in order to increase your chance of being at the right spot at the right time. If not, you might miss them.
What are they?
Also called “Aurora Borealis”, the magical lights are basically the result of collisions from particles in the earth´s atmosphere and particles from the sun´s atmosphere. The particles from the earth´s atmosphere are gaseous and the particles from the sun are charged. These collisions cause the bright magical spectacle known as the Northern Lights.
So, the Northern Lights depend on the suns activity each time. As the sun rotates and solar activity ejects gas clouds, the solar winds blow charged particles towards the earth causing the Northern Lights. We can only see the Northern Lights when it is dark. A full moon has no impact on the sun´s activity but a full moon casts light in the sky which weakens the possibility to see the Northern Lights with the naked eye. A strong Aurora display can however withstand bright moonlight.
The Best Time to Enjoy a Northern Lights Trip
You should try to head out around the season of a new moon rather than a full moon. More critical to the quality of your experience are the clouds. Thick clouds covering the sky make it hard to see the Northern Lights. You might need to drive around for hours to find breaks in the clouds or to find a clear sky. Then there is of course the sun´s activity each time.
Whether the moon is full or not, if the skies are cloudy you will most likely be unable to see the showcase.