The Scandinavian nations frequently overlook Finland. People adore Sweden for its striking architecture, Norway for being one of the best places in the world to see the aurora, and Denmark for its delectable cuisine. When it comes to seeing the northern lights, Finland is easily on par, if not better. Additionally, when you’re not out searching for the aurora borealis, you can enjoy dog sledding, relaxing sauna breaks, and delectable Finnish pastries. Read on to learn more about the northern lights in Finland.
What Are the Northern Lights?
If you want to go off the beaten path to see the northern lights, Finland could be the perfect destination for you. Continue reading to learn everything there is to know about the northern lights in Finland, including where to go, when to see them, and popular tours that increase your chances of an unforgettable aurora experience your chances of them. If you found this post while searching for ‘how to see the northern lights in Finland,’ you probably already know what they are… But do you know the science behind the stunning lights that dance across the night sky?
Historically, Finns believed that the northern lights were influenced by the firefox, a creature whose paws kicked up sparks into the night sky as it ran across the snow. In fact, the northern lights are known in Finland as “revontulet,” which translates as “fox fires.” Other northern lights mythology in Finland held that the aurora was caused by whale chutes spraying into the night sky.
In fact, the sun causes the northern lights. When particles emitted by the sun collide with atoms in the earth’s atmosphere, these atoms light up, producing the beautiful colors seen in the aurora borealis. Speaking of translations, Galileo coined this classical name for the northern lights, which translates as “north wind.” Because the aurora borealis can only be seen in the northern hemisphere and moves across the sky like the wind, this name also makes sense.
Where Do Northern Lights Come From?
The simple answer is magic. The more complex and difficult answer begins in the sun’s core, where intense nuclear reactions produce particles. These particles are eventually fired from the sun during periods of high solar activity. These electrically charged particles are flying around, and the vast majority will miss the Earth entirely, but a lucky few will land on our blue plane.
What Effect Does Climate Change Have on the Northern Lights?
Thankfully, not much. We can’t change the fact that auroras are caused by interactions between solar particles and oxygen and nitrogen in the atmosphere. However, worsening weather patterns and forecasting difficulties may make aurora hunting much more difficult in the future.
While it would be great to see the northern lights year-round in Finland, part of what makes the experience memorable is that you can only experience them during certain parts of the year. As you can see from the above photo, there’s a clear season where you can see the aurora – but it’s not limited only to winter.
Different Seasons in Finland and Your Chances of Seeing the Aurora in Each.
- Autumn lasts from August to October. As the cold weather arrives in Finland in the autumn. This is your first chance to see the northern lights in the calendar year. Aurora can be seen on a dark night in northern Finland beginning in late August. By day, you can admire the autumn foliage and watch Finland’s many lakes slowly freeze over.
- Winter in Finland lasts from November to March, giving you plenty of time to visit and see the northern lights. You can visit during the December holidays to experience a winter wonderland, or during the shoulder season’ of March. When the seasons begin to change – both are good months to visit because the skies are dark and the northern lights are frequently visible.
- Spring last from April to May. Spring in Finland is brief and dramatic; though it may begin as early as April. Snow may remain on the ground in parts of Lapland until May! Flowers will poke through the snow as spring approaches, as will fresh green nibs on tree branches. The days will grow longer, making it more difficult to see the aurora, though if the skies are clear and you’re willing to stay up late, you might get lucky.
- Summer is from June to September – Summer is the opposite season to visit if you want to go to aurora chasing, as it is in other countries where you can see the northern lights. Long days and the midnight sun make finding a dark night sky to view the aurora nearly impossible.
Best Place to See Northern Lights in Finland
Northern Lapland is the best place to see the Northern Lights in Finland. Most visitors will go to Rovaniemi or Kakslauttanen. If you find yourself in Rovaniemi, you should definitely book a Northern Lights tour and venture out into the wilderness. In contrast to Rovaniemi, Kakslauttanen, and Saariselka (a 2-hour drive north), there is little to no light pollution. So you won’t have to travel far to find a secluded spot to view the northern lights. Unfortunately, it snowed heavily during our entire stay at the Kilopaa Fell Center in Saariselk.
Etymology and Myths of Auroras
The etymology of the Northern Lights should be self-evident, but what exactly does aurora borealis mean? Aurora is the goddess of the dawn, and Borealis means north in Latin.
It’s no surprise that the aurora borealis has many myths and legends surrounding it. Given that their names come from supernatural beings themselves. For instance, a baby conceived under the Northern Lights will be gorgeous and lucky. Auroras can be the spirits of the dead, fire caused by the mystical firefox’s tail, or magical spells cast by supernatural forces of light and darkness. That is only the mythology told in Finland!
Is 2022 a Good Year for Northern Lights
“Aurora viewing opportunities will continue in 2022,” Steenburgh said. “The solar cycle is indeed heating up, and as solar activity rises, so do the chances for Earth-directed blobs of plasma.” Known as coronal mass ejections, they are responsible for geomagnetic storms and the aurora.
What Months Are the Northern Lights Most Visible?
The Arctic winter season lasts from late September to late March or early April. The Arctic sky is dark enough during this time of year for the Northern Lights to be visible in the right conditions. The aurora is most active in March and September, around the equinoxes.
Do the Northern Lights Happen Every Night?
No. Even during the solar maximum, massive geomagnetic storms occur. Which can cause extremely intense displays of the northern lights, and do not occur every night. They still happen during the solar minimum, just less frequently.
Where Is the Best Chance to See the Lights?
Troms is one of the places in the world where you have the best chance of seeing the northern lights. This is due to our ideal location right in the center of the northern lights oval, which is always lit up.
How Do You Guarantee to See the Northern Lights?
You should also look for clear skies in the weather forecast and avoid nights with rain or snow. Spend several nights looking for the lights rather than just one to increase your chances.
Will There Be Northern Lights in 2022?
Aurora borealis displays in Northern Norway in November 2022 featured vibrant colors. Over the last week, northern Scandinavians have witnessed some of the most powerful northern lights displays of the year.
How Long Do the Northern Lights Normally Last?
The duration of the display is also affected by solar activity. A good light show will typically last between 15 and 30 minutes. And if you’re really lucky, it might last a few hours.
Are the Northern Lights Audible?
They have been described by listeners as a faint rustling, clapping, or popping. The northern lights, according to one observer in the 1930s, made “a noise as if two planks had met flatways, not a sharp crack but a dull sound, loud enough for anyone to hear.”
FAQs on Northern Lights in Finland
Is Finland or Norway better for Northern Lights?
Norway is unquestionably the best location in Scandinavia to view the northern lights, especially if you want to photograph the aurora dancing above magnificent fjords and waterfalls. On the other hand, if you’re on a tighter budget, Sweden and Finland are both fantastic choices.
Is Finland cheap for tourists?
Unless you happen to be traveling from Sweden or Norway, Finland is expensive. But with some careful planning and budgeting, you can take a fantastic trip without spending a fortune.
What is Finland's famous for?
Finland frequently tops lists of the world’s happiest nations because its citizens enjoy high living standards, universal access to healthcare, and a superior educational system. Lapland, the northern lights, saunas, wife-carrying, odd food, and being the birthplace of Santa Claus are just a few of Finland’s well-known attractions.
Can you touch Northern Lights?
firstly, you can’t really touch the aurora (in the same sense that you can ‘touch’ a sunbeam) because they are essentially photon emissions from nitrogen and oxygen molecules. Even the gas that produces photons is incredibly flimsy.