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Aurora season 2023–2024 in numbers

Evert time I go out with the intention to watch the northern lights I keep notes of different things. I do this because it's interesting and I can learn from it. But it surely seems a little crazy when you collect all the data from a northern lights season season and present it like this.

Well, here it is.

Aurora hunting statistics.
This season I saw 23 auroras. I expected more since last year was 30.

My 27 aurora hunts include the two times I only went out on my balcony and watched the northern lights. I went out only 4 times without seeing any auroral activity. 8 auroras were really good and 8 disappointing. All the other something in between.

Length of Aurora Season
I record the time from the moment I close my front door until I get back inside.

The season was super long, which is nice. I spent a couple of hours outside in average but in reality some aurora hunts extend up to 7 hours and sometimes it's less than 30 minutes.

Locations for aurora watching.
Some nights I relocate several times.

I've seen the aurora in 21 different locations this past season. Many of them are only a 5 or 10 minute drive from my house. My longest drive was 94 kilometer when I met up with a group that I took on an aurora tour.

Aurora hunting in different temperatures.
I always note the temperature.

More on this below. But on average it's not super cold when I go aurora hunting. We had a couple of extreme weeks around new year when the temperature dropped even down to –34° Celsius (–29°F).

Exposure statistics from my aurora hunts
Aurora photography is slow photograpy.

Some may be surprised by how few photos I take during a northern lights night. It's mainly because exposure times are long (up to several seconds). But another factor is that I try to take all sorts of photos: pictures of me in it, pictures with my storm lamp, pictures with the landscape, and always a variety of foregrounds. This takes time and the result is better photos, but fewer. The number of really great photos is still down at 1%.


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This was a season of many records. I'm extra happy to have seen the aurora in May, which also was the strongest aurora recorded in the last 20 years. That's also why it could be seen in May even though skies are never totally dark anymore here in my region (63.5°N).


In my next blog post I will show some photos from the season so you will see the real highs but also the lows. But it wouldn't be fair to leave you without any photos from the May 11 solar storm. Here is how it looked up here where the sky never got dark.

May 2024 solar storm.
The solar storm of May 10–11 generated auroras that could be seen as far south as Texas and Italy. Here I pointed my camera straight to the south.

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