Can Northern Lights be predicted?

Can Northern Lights be predicted?

Northern lights forecast

With or without solar maximum, nobody can guarantee that you will see the northern lights during a trip (if someone does, be suspicious, as you will read below it is absolutely impossible to control all the factors that allow its sighting). Now, if you spend a week in optimal conditions you will probably see it (I insist, probably). You would have to be very unlucky not to see it even one night if you follow the instructions below. Take note, wrap up warm and go for it!

Good destinations to see the Northern Lights are Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Russia, Greenland, Canada and the United States. Be careful, the Northern Lights are not visible from any point in these countries. In most of them, the further north you are, the better.

If you want to see the Northern Lights, you should find out the kp index of your destination (kp 1, kp 2, kp 3, etc.). The kp index is invariable, places always have the same kp index and, in general, the lower the kp index of your destination the better.  Don’t be afraid of the kp index, it is only a reference that is explained in section 3.

When is it easiest to see the northern lights?

The best times to see them are between 21:00 and 2:00. If you need your sleep, you can find hotels with aurora alarm service. Weather conditions are very important. The sky must be clear, and the brightness of the aurora will be easier to see if the moon is small.

What is the Northern Lights KP?

The KP Index is the best known value for polar aurora prediction. It is usually measured with an index of values between 1 and 9. The higher the KP number, the stronger the polar aurora activity.

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What causes the northern lights?

The aurora borealis is produced when charged particles from the Sun hit the Earth’s atmosphere and our magnetic field directs them towards the poles. This is why we speak of aurora borealis for the North Pole and australis for the South.

Aurora borealis today

However, great advances in technology have allowed us to forecast the Aurora Borealis quite accurately. So much so, that today it is possible to plan trips to see the Aurora Borealis weeks in advance, ensuring a good display of lights.

However, for this you need to know how to read the Northern Lights forecast. And arm yourself with patience, because no matter how much you know how to predict when the Northern Lights will be seen, forecasts can change in a matter of minutes.

Before we tell you how to predict the Northern Lights, I recommend that you take a look at our articles on the best time to see the Northern Lights and the best places to see the Northern Lights. If you are not in the right place at the right time, it will be very difficult to have a favorable northern lights forecast.

This aurora forecast indicator (known as the “planetary K-index”) is simply a scale for measuring geomagnetic activity, which is directly related to the likelihood of seeing northern lights. Here you can learn more about how the northern lights are formed.

How do you know what your aura is?

If you want to see the Northern Lights, you should find out what the kp index of your destination is (kp 1, kp 2, kp 3, etc.). The kp index is invariable, places always have the same kp index and, in general, the lower the kp index of your destination the better.

What is Kp in climate?

The Kp geomagnetic index is derived from the K-index from measurements at thirteen stations located around the Earth between geomagnetic latitudes 48◦ and 63◦. This index is processed every three hours, is quasi-logarithmic and estimates geomagnetic activity.

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What is Kp in Meteorology?

The KP index measures the intensity of electromagnetic activity arriving from solar storms and is essential for drone pilots to take into account, as most drones use GPS and compasses to position themselves in the air.

Northern lights seen in oslo

The atmosphere is composed of two main chemical elements. One is nitrogen (78%) and the other is oxygen (21%). To make it easier, I will explain it in a way that you can all understand.

The color we see most often is green, and this is because oxygen ionizes more easily when it interacts with charged particles from the Sun. It usually occurs when these atoms are at a height of about 100km. However, if this emission is more powerful and occurs in higher layers of the atmosphere, the color would change to a more reddish color.

If the intensity of the aurora is VERY high, you might find other colors, such as very strong red or even blue tones. However, these are very difficult to see with the naked eye. This is because sometimes charged particles from the sun can detach one of the outermost electrons from the nitrogen atoms.

Trying to predict an aurora used to be very difficult. In fact, until not so long ago we had no tools that could tell us what solar activity there was, and therefore, having a prediction of the polar aurora or aurora borealis was almost impossible.

What does Kp index mean?

The Kp index was designed to measure the magnetic effects of solar events and is presented on a logarithmic scale with variability ranges from 0 (no activity) to 9 (maximum storm activity).

How are northern lights formed?

Particles trapped in the magnetosphere collide with atoms and molecules in the Earth’s atmosphere that are at their lowest energy level, the so-called fundamental level. The energy input provided to these particles causes high energy states, also called excited states.

What does the K in magnetism stand for?

Handling this as an equation, we have: in which K’ is the constant of proportionality and in the S. I. has a value of 10-7 Wb / A m or 10-7 N / A2 ; P represents the magnetic mass, which in the S. I. is measured in Ampere meter ( A m ); and “r” is the distance between the magnetic poles mentioned, measured in meters.

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Alaska aurora borealis dates

We tell you some of the tricks we use to decide when, how and where to see the northern lights. The night is very long and cold in these islands and it is better to know, before going out, when will be the best time to see the northern lights in order not to fail in the attempt and not to freeze.

The aurora borealis occur in areas of the Earth called auroral ovals, which are located around the magnetic poles. These ovals are the first point that we recommend to consult before going outside. For example, at the moment we are writing this post, as we can see in the image below on the left, the location of the oval is over North America, making it practically impossible to see it in Norway (besides the fact that it is now daytime there). In the image on the right, taken today at 16 o’clock, we can see how the oval has already been rotating, so in a few hours, it will be over Norway. The reference page to consult the oval is Space Weather Live.