travel and tourist maps, tips and utilities: Borealis & Australis Auroras travel and tourist maps, tips and utilities

Borealis & Australis Auroras

Aurora Borealis
© National Park Service, Alaska Region

The Polar Aurora, well known as Aurora Borealis/Australis or Northern/Southern Lights depending on which hemisphere it occurs, is an optical phenomenon of the atmosphere, characterized by green, blue and red luminous bands with a different range of shapes.

The phenomenon, visible in two stripes around the magnetic poles and more intense and frequent during high solar activity, is caused by the interaction of charged electrons of the solar wind with the earth's ionosphere (a process similar to the neon lamp light).
The colour depends on the atmosphere's gases: atomic oxygen is responsible for the green, the molecular oxygen for the red and nitrogen for the blue colour.

Aurora Borealis

According to old myths, the Northern Lights appear for the Inuits like souls playing with walrus skulls, for Lappish they are created by the tail of a big fox that hits the snow and it is believed that children conceived beneath them are more intelligent and lucky.
In Central Europe, they were considered a bad omen due to the predominance of red in its colours.

Best places to see Northern Lights / Aurora Borealis (the best period is from September to April):

Iceland: Kirkjufell, Reykjavik, Jökulsárlón Lake, Þingvellir National Park.
Norway: Svalbard Islands, North Cape, Tromsø, Alta, Karasjok.
Finland: Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, Inari Lake, Sodanklya, Luosto.
Sweden: Abisko National Park, Kiruna region.
Alaska, USA: Fairbanks, Denali National Park, Juneau, Barrow, Coldfoot.
Canada: Mucho Lake Provincial Park, Yukon, British Columbia, Yellowknife.
Greenland: Kulusuk, Ammassalik, Kangerlussuaq.
Fær Øer Islands
Russia: Kola Peninsula.
Scotland: Caithness coast.
Ireland: Donegal region, Malin Head, Antrim region.

Check Northern Lights forecasts (Europe)

Best places to see Southern Lights / Aurora Australis (the best period is from March to September):

New Zealand: Stewart Island, Lake Tekapo, Aoraki Mt Cook National Park, The Catlins.
Australia: Mount Wellington (Tasmania), Victoria.
Argentina: Ushuaia
South Georgia Island
Falkland Islands