The Northern Lights are one of the most spectacular and beautiful natural phenomena to see. However, to be able to contemplate this beauty it is necessary to travel to some of the most remote places in the geography of our planet.
How an aurora borealis is formed
When an aurora borealis is observed , what is going to be seen in the sky is a luminescence similar to that which occurs during sunrise but, in this case, in the middle of the night and in a starry sky.
This is because the light that characterizes the aurora borealis is not produced by the rotation of the Earth when it is placed in front of the Sun, but is the result of the solar wind , which emits millions of luminous particles that are trapped by the field. magnetic of the planet, causing them to be concentrated at the ends of the poles . By increasing its concentration, this causes light flashes to be produced that are reminiscent of the dawn of dawn, which is why it is called this way.
In fact, since the concentration of these solar particles occurs at the poles, in order to observe the Northern Lights it will be necessary to be in places close to the Arctic Circle .
Where to see the Northern Lights – countries and regions
The only places where the Northern Lights can be observed are those where the concentration of solar wind particles carried by the Earth’s magnetic field is high enough for the sky to shine, despite being at night. This means that they will only be seen in some regions of the northernmost latitudes (literally, located to the north and which also gives its name to this type of aurora).
Likewise, it will also be necessary to take into account that not all the dates of the year will be adequate to be able to observe them. Although they can be seen easily between the months of October to March, it is best to go to see the northern lights in January and February , since the tilt of the Earth’s axis makes it easier to observe them.
Alaska is one of the places where it is easier to see the Northern Lights. The most recommended areas are both the center and the north of the state, and the best months in this case will be from November to January.
Canada’s geographical position is one of the best for observing the Northern Lights, since the entire north of the country is located near the Arctic Circle. They can be seen throughout the extreme north of the country.
Another place where the northern lights can be seen more easily is in the north of the island of Greenland, where Inuit tradition says that these lights were the souls of babies who had not survived to adulthood.
Iceland is another of the favorite destinations for lovers of the Northern Lights. The most recommended months to enjoy this natural phenomenon in Iceland are from September to the end of March .
The Scandinavian Peninsula is another of the best places to observe the Northern Lights, and the further north we go, the easier it will be to do so. One of the highlights is Lapland (Finland) which, in addition to enjoying some of the most spectacular Northern Lights on the European continent, is also known for being the home of Santa Claus.
It must be taken into account that these phenomena are not exclusive to the northern hemisphere, since the Earth’s magnetic field drags the particles of the solar winds both towards one pole and the other. In fact, the same phenomena that we observe in the Arctic Circle can be seen in the Antarctic. However, in this case, we will not be facing an aurora borealis, but rather a southern aurora , which is how the phenomenon is known in the southern hemisphere.
The adjectives “boreal” and “austral” come from ancient Greek, and have passed into our language to refer to both north and south respectively. Originally, they made references to the gods of the north winds and the south winds. Over time, the term became popular and, nowadays, it is used in a general way to refer to the north and south in different situations, among them, when talking about this type of natural phenomena, which are the northern and southern auroras , different from the “oriental” ones, which would be the ones we enjoy with the dawn of each new day.