Seeing the Northern Lights in Kiruna, Sweden

Kiruna Northern Lights

Northern lights in Kiruna

There’s a good reason why “Kiruna Northern Lights” or “Northern Lights in Kiruna” are significantly popular keywords on Google. Kiruna, located in northernmost Sweden, is one of the best places in the world to see the northern lights (a phenomenon also known as Aurora Borealis).

You should always keep in mind that, no matter where you are, there are no guarantees you will see the northern lights. Certain conditions need to be met for that to happen.

Be that as it may, Kiruna offers exceptionally good chances of spotting these ghostly green, pink, red, or purple clouds floating in the sky after dark.

What are the northern lights?

Kiruna Northern Lights
The most common color of the northern lights is green

As you might already know, aurora borealis is a majestic display of natural light in the night sky of the Northern Hemisphere.

The northern lights appear as luminous clouds that seem to dance across the night sky, and their color may vary. Usually, they appear green or red, but can also be pink, purple, or yellow.

How do the northern lights occur?

An aurora occurs when charged particles from the Sun collide with Earth’s magnetic field. These particles from the solar wind are attracted by the Earth’s magnetic field and head toward the poles.

Our planet protects itself from these particles by the Earth’s magnetic field, a veritable invisible shield generated by the movements of the Earth’s liquid core. When the solar wind falls upon it, the magnetic field deforms, but generally prevents particles from entering the atmosphere.

Sometimes stronger than usual solar winds occur. In this case, the magnetic field is disturbed and particles emitted by the Sun cross this invisible barrier. It is the meeting of these particles with the gases of the Earth’s atmosphere that generates the aurora borealis. This phenomenon occurs about 100 kilometers above our heads.

Why is Kiruna a great place to see the Northern Lights?

Northern Lights in Kiruna
The northern lights in Kiruna can be visible almost everywhere

Due to its nearness to the North Pole, chances of seeing the Northern Lights in Swedish Lapland are very high. Kiruna lies within the aural zone and the chances of witnessing the Aurora Borealis in the wider area are great.

In Kiruna, you are always close to nature. In a very short time, you can get away from the light pollution of the few cities and the northern lights can be visible almost everywhere.

When is the best time to see the Northern Lights in Kiruna?

It has to be dark to see the Northern Lights. This means that the ideal time to come across Aurora Borealis in Kiruna is the winter season.

Many think that the best time to see the Northern Lights is in December and January, although the northern lights in Kiruna are often impressively visible during early spring and autumn.

Kiruna Northern Lights during winter

Wintertime is the period that grants you the best chance to see Aurora Borealis in Kiruna. On the other hand, this period is also the coldest and the temperatures can be freezing. Also, your options for other outdoor activities are considerably limited as it can be always dark outside. Thankfully, during February days become much longer.

Kiruna Northern Lights during autumn

If you are a bit lucky, you may get to see Aurora Borealis in Kiruna in September. It is not unheard of to witness the northern lights in Kiruna as early as late August, but the chances are extremely thin. Late September and October are good options as they offer long enough nights and also considerable daylight to let you engage in other activities too.

Kiruna Northern Lights during spring

Northern lights in Kiruna occur until at least the end of March. Until mid-April, you have a good enough chance of seeing them.

Kiruna Northern Lights during summer

The northern lights are not visible during summer. The phenomenon does occur but it is never dark enough for aurora borealis to be revealed.

Where to see the Northern Lights in Kiruna

Sometimes, the northern lights are visible even from the city center of Kiruna. Of course, this does not happen often, due to the understandable light pollution. What’s important however is that Aurora Borealis can be visible practically everywhere in the region.

Abisko National Park | Northern Lights in Kiruna

Abisko National Park
Abisko national park is the perfect place to spot aurora borealis in Kiruna

Just over an hour from the city of Kiruna, you will find Abisko National Park. Since there are only a few small settlements within a radius of almost 100 kilometers, the Abisko National Park is free from light pollution. In addition, Abisko is in the middle of the latitude range where the northern lights mostly occur and the neighboring mountain Nuolja means that the area has the lowest probability of precipitation in Sweden. That’s why this gorgeous national park is the best place to see Aurora Borealis in Kiruna.

Aurora SkyStation | Northern Lights in Kiruna

Surely a good place to experience the Northern Lights in Kiruna. With a chair lift, you climb to a height of 900 meters while watching the stars along the way. Twenty minutes later you are on top of Mount Nuolja.

At the observation tower in the Aurora Sky Station, you have a great chance of spotting the mesmerizing northern lights during winter and when the weather is clear. Inside there is an exhibition where you can learn everything about Aurora Borealis. During the summer you can admire the midnight sun, another unique experience.

Aurora Sky Station is indeed a good place to spot the northern lights. Be forewarned though, a visit there is not free. If the weather conditions are good, you’ll be able to see the northern lights practically everywhere in the area. If you want to save money, there’s no need to visit Sky Station. Just pick a spot that seems nice to you and enjoy the spectacular view!

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