Aurora Borealis was a continuous learning lesson until I saw it, and even after. I learned that going too close to the North Pole is not a condition to see it; the best locations are inside the Arctic Circle (called the Auroral Oval or the Auroral Zone). Aurora Borealis is visible only at night, in dark places with a clear sky (or very few clouds), and not affected by light pollution; the best period to see it is in winter when the sun is mostly absent and nights are longer. The Aurora forecasts can predict the chance to see the phenomenon just a couple of days in advance when they study the recent solar activity; the solar particles reach the earth atmosphere in almost 48 h from their departure from the sun. Nevertheless, there’s one more important condition: patience; at the beginning, I didn’t understand why it’s so popular to say ‘hunting Aurora ‘.
When I got in Tromsø, I learned from my hosts that I can see the Aurora Borealis when the solar activity is higher than 2. Although I knew how the phenomenon should look in pictures, I didn’t know what to look for into the real nature. I started to ask people and Daniel (a Spanish guy I met at Bente – one of my hosts) tried to explain to me what I was so hardly looking for: “You know, it’s like a cloud that comes and disappears. You have to wait, be patient and it will come”. I experienced patience during the preparation days. I learned why it is so common to say “hunting the Aurora ”. It has to be the perfect moment to see it. I was a hunter waiting for it with patience, a lot of research, reading and investigating all the available possibilities.
The day I’ve seen the Aurora Borealis it was: clear sky almost all the time, dark place out of the town, strong solar activity (even a storm), and quite cold after 2h of waiting in the middle of nowhere surrounded only by snow. I was looking towards the north. I was forcing my eyes to see something, but it was green only in the photos. I was anxious. I didn’t know what to look for. I knew it will come, but I was suspicious. I asked around the persons from the group if they’ve seen it. I was curious to hear if they know how the Aurora Borealis looks like in reality. After 2 hours of expectations, the Aurora started to appear slowly as a strong and powerful light coming over the mountain. It was like a cloud with a slight color of green. It was as I expected it, it was as I was told, but still a little bit different. Everything started to be like heaven: lights came over and over from everywhere. They covered the whole sky. Sometimes they changed so quickly I couldn’t see them all. Photos are just a small part of this experience; they are speechless in front of nature’s miracle. The Aurora Borealis explosion lasted, at least, one hour. It was one hour of beatitude.
That night, on Valentine’s day, I’ve seen the Aurora again and again: in Kattfjord on Kvaloya
Island, in Finnvik on the same island, and even in Tromsø like a rainbow over the houses when I came back home to Bente. The lights were moving quickly and changing every minute. They were dancing (the so-called ‘dancing Aurora‘). The rest of the days, I’ve seen just some weak stripes of Aurora Borealis over the sky when it was good weather. But that day when I froze in Kattfjord with 2 pairs of warmers in my gloves, that day will last forever. I knew how, where and when to go hunting it. Because I had patience and I waited for the perfect moment.
The key for Aurora is patience. When it’s the best moment, it will come. It’s just a matter of time.
Some more photos from the night when I saw the Aurora Borealis on the sky in Kattfjord.