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You’ve seen photos of the northern lights, possibly one of nature’s greatest miracles. Everyone wants to be a part of these photos, experiencing the northern lights with the naked eye is a dream of all.

So what are the northern lights, how are they formed, where is the best place to see the them? What is the KP number that you constantly encounter in the Northern Lights research, how should it be interpreted?

You can find the answer to all these questions in this article.

WHERE, WHEN, HOW TO SEE THEM, WHAT IS KP INDEX (NUMBER)?

WHAT ARE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS? HOW ARE THEY FORMED?

In its simplest form, it is the natural phenomenon that particles of the northern lights enter the atmosphere of the world, but only the earth’s shield protects these particles by pushing them to the north and south poles.

These particles that bounce off the poles from the circle of the world are called northern lights in the north pole and southern lights in the south pole.

The video below contains very useful information about how the northern lights form and how they touch the earth.

 

WHERE CAN YOU SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS?

Northern lights can be observed in the northern hemisphere in Alaska, Canada, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Sweden, Finland, Norway and the northern regions of Russia.

You need to be far enough north to see the northern lights, for this being at least 62 degrees north will increase your chances of seeing the northern lights with the naked eye.

WHAT FACTORS DO YOU NEED TO SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS?

You need 3 main factors to see the northern lights that:

  • Darkness
  • Cloud free sky
  • KP Index (Number)

WHEN CAN YOU SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS?

The time period, which we call the Northern Lights season, begins the last week of August and ends the second week of April.

In the remaining period, the daytime period is too much longer than night in northern countries (sometimes full daytime) and it is almost impossible to see the northern lights with the naked eye.

WHAT IS THE BEST PLACE IN THE WORLD TO SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS?

You can read a wide variety of articles about the place in the world to see the northern lights.

Thanks to the Abisko’s microclimate in Swedish Lapland, it is the region with the driest air in Scandinavia. Therefore, the number of cloud free nights in the region is much more than other regions in the nordic countries.

You can find our detailed article on this subject here, where is the best place in the world to see the northern lights

WHAT IS KP INDEX?

In order for us to see the northern lights, particles that break from the sun must enter the earth’s radius and an interaction must occur. This interaction continues throughout the year. We can also follow this interaction with KP Indexes.

Kp numbers increase from 0 to 9, and as the numbers increase, it means how strong the interaction is.

After the northern lights interact with the earth, they follow a ring-shaped path, which we call the aurora oval. As the KP number increases, the aurora oval expands, which tells us how large the northern lights affect.

The following KP map created for this gives us a very detailed explanation. According to the KP value of that day, it means that you can see the northern lights on that line or in higher regions.

Abisko Northern Lights Tour and Holiday Packages

DO I HAVE BETTER CHANCE TO SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS IF KP INDEX IS HIGH?

Unfortunately, the height of the KP level can disappoint many tourists.

In a night with a high KP index, even if you are in a cloudless and dark area, the northern lights may not interact intensely and show themselves.

Even on a night with KP level 5, you find many people returning home without seeing any northern lights.

WHAT DOES KP INDEX MEAN FOR NORTHERN LIGHTS GUIDES?

This is actually one of the clearest answers of guides that experienced in northern lights. KP Index for us does not mean anything.

The reason is quite simple, it is a magnificent natural phenomenon that is unknown when the northern lights will be seen. Although KP Index shows daily interaction, it doesn’t show instant interaction. In other words, the sun particles that come into contact with the earth may not interact with the earth at that moment.

So the best thing you can do for the northern lights is to go out and look at the sky.

Even if KP 1 is in Abisko where our center is located, we often watch the northern lights dance.

HOW DO NORTHERN LIGHTS LOOK LIKE? ARE THEY AS GREEN AS IN THE PICTURES?

You can see the northern lights very differently. For this, we have listed all the phases you can see in 4 ways,

1 – NORTHERN LIGHTS THAT YOU CAN JUST SEE ON CAMERA

In fact, this phase is always the first time the northern lights appear.

Lights look like clouds appear green on cameras that can collect light better than our naked eyes.

2 – LONG LINES THAT LOOK LIKE CLOUDS, CAN BE DISTINGUISHED BY THE NAKED EYE

This is one of the most visible phases of the northern lights.

Your eyes can now understand the difference of these long lines as a cloud or aurora.

They look even greener on the camera.

3 – NORTHERN LIGHTS APPEAR VERY LEARLY WITH THE NAKED EYE, RADIATING EVERYWHERE

In these moments when you are having one of the most beautiful experiences of your life, the northern lights look very clearly green with the naked eye. It is possible to see the northern lights coming from many directions, not just a single line.

4 – NORTHERN LIGHTS DANCING

Biggest miracle that mother nature offers for you.

And yes, if the intensity is quite high, the northern lights, which look greener (sometimes pinker) than the photos with the naked eye, dance at a speed of 1200 km per hour…

Northern lights occur from 80 to 120 km above the earth’s surface.

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