Why visit for the destination? A snowmobile ride across tracks and frozen lakes. Husky and reindeer sleigh rides. Wildlife. Visit Father Christmas. Angry birds activity park for young children. Staying in an Ice igloo. This is just Rovaniemi. So don’t go for the northern lights. Go for the destination.
There are a lot more locations within the Arctic Circle Northern Finland.
Northern lights are a bonus to a holiday. They are very unpredictable. Around 40 hours notice. Even then it might miss earth and have the wrong magnetic charge.
The Northern Lights are unpredictable. It doesn’t have to be cold to see the Aurora. it has to be dark. You can consult with weather websites like SuperSaa to find the averages for both temperature and precipitation when planning your trip. The weather in Finland can change in the blink of an eye.
The weather in the North of Finland is unpredictable as the Aurora Borealis themselves. It’s not unusual to have sunshine, clouds, snow and high winds all in the same day. Just because you wake up to clear skies, that doesn’t mean those clear skies will be around until Northern Lights viewing time once it’s dark.
You have to put effort into seeing the Northern Lights.
It has to be dark to see the Northern Lights. This may mean you need to get out of the town or hotel to avoid light pollution. The Aurora are easily visible in places within the arctic circle like Rovaniemi and Kilpisjärvi and when they are at the strongest the are visible to the south of Finland areas like Uusimaa, your best chance is to seek out spots in the countryside.
Light Pollution map of Rovaniemi and Kilpisjärvi.
Look in the direction north when hunting Northern Lights.
This sounds obvious but knowing where north is will make setting up your camera equipment easier as the Aurora can appear and disappear very quickly or they can last for hours. I usually check the compass on my phone or a regular compass if I remember to pack it with in my camera bag
The Aurora Borealis appears in a range of colours. Including a light grey. Grey northern lights are common in Southern Finland. Mind you they only appear light grey with the human eye. When you use a camera to capture them they go green.
Can you see the Northern Lights when there is a full moon.
People think they can not see the Northern Lights if there is a full moon. I have photographed the Aurora on a few occasions with a full moon. The moon brightens up the foreground. It can effect exposure time so try 3 or 4 test shots and then look at them. Try and get a happy balance or something that pleases your eye. I have a short guide on how to photograph the northern lights which is a lot easier than you think.
Q & A – quick fire round
Where are the Northern Lights in Finland?
Everywhere although it is easier to see them in the North of Finland. Visible at night. In the sky. Look North. Preferably while you have a raised Kp a good – Bz and an increase in solar winds.
I have made a page with tools to see northern lights. I also have a long list of my favourite tools for viewing the Northern Lights.
When are the northern lights visible in Finland?
All year round. When its dark. see above
What is the Finnish word for Northern Lights?
Revontulet – A loose translation is the Foxes Tail
This is my first piece of blog content on Anthony.fi. I hope it answers so questions and maybe inspires you to visit Finland.