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How Long Do You Have to Wait for the Northern Lights?

We lose darkness in late April, at least not where I live. On the night between April 21 and 22 the twilight colors above the horizon never disappeared. Not even at the darkest point (which is 1:30 AM).

Twilight by the sea
A typical view while waiting for it to get dark enough.

So in order to see any trace of the Northern Lights I had to wait for the sky to become dark enough. Hopefully the aurora would outshine the light I saw to the north.

But it seemed like it wouldn't appear at all.

The place I had chosen was very rocky and a super beautiful setting for photography in any weather or light condition, really. There were rocks everywhere, thousands of them, big and small. At the edge of the forest 10 meters from the waterline there was a huge snow dune which must have been very thick during the winter. It was still one meter thick in places. It takes a long time for that to melt and it will probably be weeks before it's completely gone.

Last snow on the beach
Last snow slowly melting on the beach.

While waiting I took photos of the rocks by the shoreline and some selfies with my lantern. At 0:50 I left that place, thinking nothing exciting would happen in the sky. I drove a couple of kilometers and stopped to check the aurora state. I took some photos and at 1:30 I decided to start driving home.

Holding my lamp while standing on a rock in the twilight of the April night.
The lamp light revealed the amount of rocks.

But then I changed my mind and went to a harbor I had wanted to check out. As I arrived I mounted my camera on the tripod and started shooting, suddenly realizing the Aurora was present and rapidly increasing in strength.

It was now 2:05 AM and felt super happy to have had the patience to wait for it and not giving up. It really paid off and I got a decent aurora show that lasted for 20 minutes before it faded.

I assume it's the last aurora I'll see this season.

Northern lights over an open sea. The morning light already increasing by the horizon.
The northern lights finally appearing.

In late April every year, a meteor rain can be seen to the north. I honestly did not know about the Lyrids but I saw several awesome meteors and did manage to capture a couple of them as they went straight through the aurora.

A Lyrids meteor falling through the northern lights.
A meteor falling through the northern lights.

It was 3 AM as I drove into my home town again. I did not get many hours of sleep—but it was all worth it!


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