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Northern Lights

People come from all over the world to see the Northern Lights in Norway. The pictures in the tourist brochures look really good. My advise is, don’t. Come and see the fjords, the midnight sun, the mountains, the cod, but not the Northern Lights, because chances are you’ll be disappointed. 10 years ago my friend Joe and I went all the way to Tromsø, quite a bit north of here, too see the Northern Lights and we only saw a lump of dim light in the sky that could’ve been a cloud. A bunch of fickle variables need to conspire to make for good Northern Light viewing. First, strong solar activity. Then, a cloudless and moonless night. And you need to be awake. This year is supposed have strong solar activity — strongest in 50 years according to NASA — but 4 months into our stay, nothing except one night and it was lame. Until tonight.

It was brilliant. Certainly the most spectacular I’ve ever seen. What’s really unnerving is that this stuff moves. Pretty fast. We took these pictures below from our deck. I decided to hike up the hill behind our house to get better pictures, but by the time I got up there, it had already weakened significantly. When I got back down to the house, it was nearly gone. A light show that lasted maybe 2 hours. But boy it was really good while it lasted. Kristin and I stood on the deck and went ohhh and ahhh. Even she hadn’t seen it this good since she was little.

Postscript: It turns out that in these days we got one of biggest geomagnetic storms ever seen. Here is a post with great photos from a Northern Light enthusiast. He wrote, “Tonight I witnessed one of the best Northern Lights displays that I’ve ever seen, and I mean EVER in over 5000 hours on the ice.”

  1. rallucadiana #

    A magical night indeed! 🙂

    January 22, 2012
  2. ‘Now’ I want to go there to see the Northern Lights….

    January 22, 2012
  3. I would probably agree with that advice. We were skiing in Finish lapland a few years back and because of mostly cloudy nights, and light pollution from the resort we got to see a bit of an eerie green glow but it’s a long shot from the ‘real deal’. Beautiful pictures 🙂

    January 23, 2012
  4. Joe #

    Winston, I hope you also remember the snarky comment we received from the local college kid in Tromso, when we asked the best place to see the Northern Lights. “In the sky,” was his response… Anyway, glad you finally got a good show, ten years later.

    January 23, 2012
    • When you think about it, our question was pretty stupid.

      January 23, 2012
  5. Stunning!

    January 23, 2012
  6. Rosa #


    January 23, 2012
  7. Stephen Pace #

    Amazing shots. Did you take video as well?

    January 23, 2012
    • We didn’t try video. We only had our iPhones for taking video so it probably wouldn’t come out very well.

      January 23, 2012
  8. Phil Cooper #


    January 23, 2012
  9. Wiktor #

    Beatiful pictures!

    January 23, 2012
  10. #

    Gorgeous and I’m sharing my family. Btw, did they broadcast the AFC championship game on your island?

    January 23, 2012
    • Is that a condition for living here? We don’t have cable so I wouldn’t know. But internet is fast so you can stream it.

      January 23, 2012
  11. alana #

    so so beautiful!

    do they have forecasts for nights like these? similar to our weather forecasts (that are usually wrong)? 🙂

    is it too late to come and see them? (i have my ticket for June, but these photos make me want to visit NOW!)


    January 23, 2012
    • They do have forecasts. It’s usually accurate in the next 12 hours or so. I don’t think they can predict what the sun will do but light travels faster than these particles. As I said, I wouldn’t suggest coming here for the Northern Lights. So many variables need to conspire. And unfortunately, no Northern Light in June… there’s that midnight sun thing.

      January 24, 2012
  12. Marjolein #

    Wow! It might not be a good reason to plan a visit, but it still looks amazing.

    January 24, 2012
  13. OOOOO!!!
    Winston! I’ve published your story for my Russian speaking readers here This is my new work – I’m still studying:-)
    Next week I’ll send you English text. There ia no translator on my website still…

    February 5, 2012
  14. Woah this blog is wonderful i really like studying your articles. Keep up the great work! You already know, lots of individuals are hunting around for this info, you could help them greatly.

    March 13, 2012

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