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What are my chances to see the Northern Lights?

Published on May 2024

Sabrina Pellegrino / Front Desk Sales Representative

Everyone coming to Lapland in winter wishes to see auroras or the northern lights, but what are the chances to actually see them? In this article we try to answer this question as well as discussing further about the nature phenomenon and factors needed to be considered in order to witness it. So let’s dive into it and answer some of the most common questions.

What are my chances to see the Northern Lights tonight? 

If the sky is clear, you might have good chances. Nonetheless, it is a bit more complicated than that. 


Why? What do I need to see the Aurora Borealis? 

Northern lights are even more weather dependent than the other atmospheric phenomena: to see the Northern Lights you need, other than darkness, both a clear sky and an active solar activity. 


What does it mean? 

This means that there could be an active solar activity (the Auroras are in the sky) but on a cloudy night you will not be able to see them. Or, another time you will have a perfectly clear sky but too low solar activity, so you will not see any Northen Lights either.  

How do I know if this is a good night to see the Northern Lights? 

If you are in Lapland between early September and middle April, meaning that the nights are dark enough, there are two major factors to check: clouds and solar activity.  

Cloud coverage. You would need to check the cloud coverage forecast to have an idea of the clouds’ situation in the area you are in. We recommend you the Finnish Meteorological Institute website and the Windy: Clouds (Play StoreApp store) to monitor the clouds movement every hour. 

Solar activity. Solar activity is more complicated to forecast long-term, but there are several platforms you can use as a reference or check the live/short-term activity. For the general simplified overview, you can use one of the many apps, such as “My Aurora Forecast & Alerts” (Play Store App Store). They would often use so-called KP index to evaluate the chances, but keep in mind that KP index is not an ideal reference to estimate the probability of aurora showing up. 

More reliable indicators of solar activity are in the live data, such as Bz and Bt. This data shows the live activity as well as very short-term forecast. It can be found on platforms like SpaceWeatherLive. To evaluate the activity simplified, negative Bz and positive Bt numbers are good indicators of strong auroral activity. Unfortunately, this data doesn’t provide a long-term forecast. 

Note. With all the forecasts checked, you can get an idea of the weather conditions and solar activity estimates. Note, however, that there is no 100% way to predict auroras and the weather is subject to a change. And at the end of the day it is also a matter of luck, which makes it so special!  


Can I see the Auroras in a cloudy night? 

It’s not impossible, but it depends on the cloud cover. If there is solar activity and breaks in the clouds, you have a chance. With thin clouds and strong solar activity, you might see the Auroras through the clouds. However, with thick clouds and a fully covered sky, it is very unlikely you will see any lights. 


What should I do to see the Northern Lights then? 

Aurora Hunting!
Seeing Auroras might not be so easy.  If you want to have better chances, then hunting is what you should do: drive away from the light pollution, find a good spot and… patiently wait. This how it works, and it is all part of the experience! 

Can Safartica take me Aurora Hunting? 

Sure! We offer several tours in which you might be able to see the Northern Lights.  

The Aurora Hunting Photo tour is the main hunting tour, but we also have the Aurora Picnic, Aurora Ice Floating, the Northern Lights Search by Snowshoes, the Evening Escape by snowmobile and the Northern Lights Safari by electric snowmobile. 

Ask for more information to our Front Desk or click here to see our website. 


What is the difference among these tours and how can I book? 

The Aurora Hunting Photo Tour is the most flexible tour in terms of movement:
the tour does not have a fixed location, so if the weather is partially cloudy, it allows to drive where the sky is clearer. The tour drives up to maximum 200 km in total. 

The Aurora Borealis Picnic includes a traditional Lappish picnic in one of the best locations for seeing the Northern Lights. This activity takes place in a fixed location, so the chances to see the Auroras are limited by the weather forecasts. 

Both the Aurora Hunting Photo Tour and the Aurora Borealis picnic can be rescheduled before 16:00 for the more suitable day!  


The Aurora Ice Floating and the other evening tours by snowshoes, snowmobiles or reindeer also give possibilities to view auroras. These tours are limited by the weather in the location of the safari, but if you are lucky and the sky is clear, you might be able to see the Northern Lights! 

           Note that these tours cannot be rescheduled on the same day. 


Book your tour here on our website or send us an email at safartica@safartica.com

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