Starting in early autumn in Greenland, you have the opportunity to watch in awe as the night sky glows with shimmering light. The Northern Lights, otherwise known as the Aurora Borealis, is caused by ions and atoms colliding with Earth's atmosphere and impacting the lines of magnetic force, creating breathtakingly beautiful colors and patterns across the night sky.
Legend has it that a fox runs across the Arctic fells, and it's the sparks from his tail and shimmering snow that light up the sky.
While these lights can be seen in various places all over the globe, Greenland is one of the best locations to witness this show of glowing lights, and they're visible most nights of the year, except during summer. From September to the beginning of April are when these stunning lights are most visible. In order to make the most of your Northern Lights tour, be sure to keep the following tips in mind:
Wait for a dark, clear night
The Aurora Borealis is best seen on a dark, clear night. The dark skies make the lights much more visible to the naked eye. You may have to do your best to get away from areas with heavy light pollution. Seek out remote spots in the Arctic countryside to get the best view. Give yourself plenty of time to travel to these locations so you don't miss the show.
It's best to go an hour or before or after midnight. Depending on when you go, the Northern Lights could last anywhere from 20 seconds to a few hours. Ideally, there should be a solar wind so the atoms can collide with the Earth's atmosphere. You can download the Aurora Forecast app on your iPhone to be able to check when the best time is to see the Northern Lights.
However, keep in mind that these lights are very unpredictable, and the weather can change within a very short period of time. If you don't see them one night, try your luck the next night.
Know what to look for
When you imagine the Northern Lights, you probably think of the vibrant green and yellow hues that travel across the sky. However, this isn't the only color that's created by Earth's atmosphere. In fact, the Aurora Borealis creates white-gray colors as well, which can often get mistaken for clouds.
Sometimes, you may not be able to see the lights with the naked eye, but your camera could capture what you're not seeing. Make sure to bring a high-quality camera along for your trip to capture the beautiful colors the Aurora Borealis can produce.
Go dog sledding
Looking for a truly unique way to see the Aurora Borealis? Head over to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, where you can go on a sled dog tour and admire the lights at the same time. From February to April, you can go on a three-day dog sledding expedition all the way to Sisimiut on the west coast of Greenland.