The Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, appear when really tiny particles stream out of the sun and then hit the Earth's atmosphere. These charged particles of electrons and protons collide with the gasses in the Earth's upper atmosphere, which then give off tiny flashes of colourful light that we see as the Northern Lights. As all these flashes occur it makes it look as though the Aurora Borealis is dancing across the sky.
There are a lot of places in Canada where you can view the Northern Lights, with the number one spot being the Northwest Territories as they are visible 240 nights of the year. Churchill Manitoba which is located at a high enough latitude is another popular spot offering lots of opportunity for Northern Light viewing. The Yukon, Nunavut, Northern BC and Alberta are also great places to view them. If you are not looking for places that are extremely cold and isolated try Banff or Jasper located in Alberta Canada, they are also popular tourist spots and have Northern Light viewing. My favourite spot to view them was in Northern BC Canada anywhere along the Alaska Highway. You didn't have to travel far outside of the city limits to catch a view of this amazing sight!
The best time of the year to view the Northern Lights is in the fall, winter and early spring. This is when we have the longest evenings with the darkest skies. I have had the opportunity to view them as early as late August right up until March, it really just depends on how clear the sky is that night. The lights can mostly be seen between 9pm and 2am with the strongest light between 11pm and 12am, trust me I know I have spent many hours watching them dance around the sky!
No matter where you go to view them make sure you bring your patience. There is no guarantee that you will see them unless you are in the Northern most remote places. That is one of the things that makes witnessing this natural phenomenon so special. Make sure sure you have a good camera and lots of warm clothes. Once you see them you will be completely mesmerized watching them dance around the sky.
In conclusion if you ever get the opportunity to view the Northern Lights do it, trust me you will not be disappointed. Whether it is in a remote location in Northern Canada or a little further South, every experience is different then the last. Bring your patience and an open mind and turn your head up to the sky. Get out and explore what Northern Canada has to offer!
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Northern lights, aka Aurora Borealis, is on our bucket list. We have seen glimpses, but we would like to see them full on.
Love the Aurora Borealis! Used to see them in Northern Sask visiting family. The elders used to tell us that if they touched your head, we would become a part of the lights. And dance amongst the stars forever. I think they said this to keep us from sneaking outside. Beautiful pictures Rene! cool)
Mom and I used to go out after I finished work at 2:30am in Moose Jaw to chase the Northern Lights. Got to see some amazing light shows. Great blog!
EH Canada Marketing Group They are truly a sight to see! We would get up in the middle of the night just to watch them. They are so mesmerizing to see!
Tania Stewart Oh I love that so much!! We loved curling up in blankets on the porch watching them dance across the sky!heart)
Andrea Horning Aww thank you so much! They are incredible to see and so worth the chase to see them!
Thanks for sharing Rene! You have some great pictures. I had the privilege of seeing the Northern Lights in Yellowknife and Iqaluit in late August. They were spectacular. Such an amazing sight to see.
Loved your pictures, Rene. I've seen the Northern Lights in Iceland. Whenever I've been in your area of BC, it was in the summer. You were fortunate to have had many such experienes.
Seeing the aurora borealis is definitely on our bucket list, and this article has great information on how to make that happen. Thank you!