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3 hotspots to see the Northern Lights – even if you missed them last weekend



The wowed people around the world over the weekend when a geomagnetic storm caused an unusual spike in visibility, meaning Britons as far south as and Brighton were treated to colourful displays. However, experts have suggested it is almost impossible to know for sure when the next storm will occur and if people in the UK will be treated to another display this month.

Dr Greg Brown, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, told MailOnline: “There are signs of another storm approaching within the next few days, which might boost the aurorae again.

“We are currently at solar maximum, when the sun is at its most active and flares, sunspots and coronal mass ejections are at their most common.

“While we remain at the sun’s peak, the chance of a solar storm remains quite high.”

However, he added that there is no way to know this will happen for sure, saying it is almost “all but impossible” to know exactly if and when another storm might hit.

The Northern Lights are usually only witnessed from the northernmost points of the world and typically show between October and March.

But, if seeing the aurora borealis is on your bucket list, there are some destinations around the world where you are more likely to see them in the future.

The best chances of a guaranteed sighting are to one of the major Northern Lights hotspots at a peak time of year. According to experts from “Anytime between late September to late March is a good time for northern lights hunting as the long nights provide ample aurora viewing.”

Where are the best places to see the Northern Lights?

In the northern hemisphere, the activity which caused aurora borealis takes place within a band known as the aurora oval, covering latitudes between 60 and 75 degrees. Visiting a spot within the aurora oval between the peak months is the best place to see the Northern Lights.

During the ‘solar maximum’, the auroral oval expands, and it’s possible to see the northern lights further south, in places from central and southern Scandinavia, to northern USA and parts of England and Scotland.

However, there are some places which are commonly listed as the best to witness displays.

Tromsø, Norway

Tromsø in Norway is often named as one of the best places to see the Northern Lights with light chasers making the pilgrimage to the city every year. Prestvannet Lake, just a few kilometres from the city centre, is a picturesque setting where many people often spot aurora borealis thanks to a lack of artificial light pollution.

According to Visit Tromsø: “In Tromsø, there is always a good chance of seeing the northern lights from September until early April.

“Tromsø is in the centre of the northern lights’ oval, which means we can see the Aurora Borealis even when the activity is low.”

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Iceland

The Northern Lights can be seen in Jokulsarlon from September to April, though are best witnessed during the winter months between October and March.

As the lagoon is situated in the second largest nature reserve in Europe, it’s a fantastic spot to catch the Northern Lights as there is almost no light pollution. The surrounding scenery also offers a fantastic place for photographs or to simply sit and soak up the views.

Shetland Islands, Scotland

While the UK is certainly not one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights, there are still some destinations where a display is more likely to occur.

This can be a draw for those who don’t want to travel too far. Shetland lies closer to the North Pole than any other part of Britain, so it is described as “the best place to see the Northern Lights”, according to the local tourism board.

The best time to see the Northern Lights in Shetland is between mid-October to mid-March, where longer nights and darker skies provide the ideal backdrop.

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