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When Does the Aurora Season End?

Northern lights drawing lines over the horizon
Aurora drew a line on the night sky with her giant green marker pen.

In early April any aurora might be the last for the season. That's how my thoughts go.

It's only a few weeks until we have light nights and no darkness for three months. I can't see the midnight sun where I live, I would have to live a lot further north for that. But the nights are light all summer, starting from mid May.

I have learned that clouds keep me from seeing most of the auroras dancing in the sky, so it's only logical to have that attitude: the season for actually seeing them will be over any day.

Last night I chose to be outside instead of sleeping. (Yes, my head constantly reminds me of that right now.) But as always, I can't regret such a decision. I chose a new location to explore for Northern Lights photography. Changed location a couple of times and came home with lots of nice photos.

So, when does the aurora season really end?

There are three factors to take into consideration. The main one being darkness. On the Finnish west coast it's possible to see the aurora until late April. After that the nights are too light with no total darkness. If you go up to Lapland, to the northern parts of Finland, Sweden or Norway (or the whole Iceland for that matter) the aurora season is actually a little shorter. It ends in mid April because nights are getting bright a little sooner further north.

The other two factors are clouds and, of course, auroral activity. Of course the season ends when nights are no longer dark enough for the northern lights to be seen. But low solar activity, which also means low auroral activity, and cloudy weather can prevent you from seeing any at the end of the season, which means the season's last aurora might happen in March. You never know.

As nights are getting lighter in April there are fewer hours of darkness each night. That obviously limit the chances. If you plan a trip to see the aurora borealis I would not suggest April for that reason.

When does the season start again? You'll find the answer in another of my blog posts.

PS. I sometimes do a live broadcast on Instagram during my night photo adventures. Follow @nordlandfin if you want to catch me while I'm hunting for the aurora.

Rocks under the ice creating a crater looking shape.
The Finnish version of Mount Fuji in the foreground.

Strong northern lights over the treetops
I missed the best moments as I was still driving towards my chosen destination then and only saw it between the trees. But the Northern Lights became more active three times during my 4 hours of aurora hunting.

Northern lights and Volkswagen Transporter.
The last photo I took before heading home at 3:15 am. It was like a goodby as my car turns away from the Northern Lights.

In my next post I will reveal a few things I have learned during this season. Don't miss it. Follow my Facebook page if you haven't already and you will get a notification when it's published.


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