Imagine standing beneath a sky painted with vivid colours of phosphorescent inexperienced, yellow and pink, as they dance and shimmer in the night time. A really magical expertise awaits you in Canada, dwelling to one in all the most gorgeous pure phenomena on Earth – the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis. Join us on a journey to unlock the spectacular fantastic thing about the northern lights of Canada, the place you’ll find out about the science, historical past, and cultural significance of this mesmerizing mild present, in addition to the finest occasions, areas, and ideas for a memorable aurora chasing journey.
Where To See Northern Lights Canada
Are you able to take a Northern Lights journey? Forget about Iceland or Svalbard, Canada has clear skies and lengthy chilly nights making it the good place to see the Aurora Borealis. In this text, you’ll study the whole lot you have to learn about seeing the Northern Lights in Canada from the place are the finest locations to see the Northern Lights, to Northern Lights pictures ideas and recommended Aurora excursions. So let’s escape the metropolis lights and got down to distant locations with little mild air pollution to take pleasure in this marvel of nature.
The Magic of the Aurora Borealis in Canada
Canada is blessed with a rare alternative to witness the Northern Lights as much as 300 days a yr. If you wish to see the northern lights in Canada, head north and keep away from cloud cowl. You don’t have to go all the approach to the Arctic Circle to see Northern Lights, nevertheless, being there provides you a fair higher probability with extra cloudless clear nights because of being to date north!
Canada is blessed with a northern location and huge, darkish skies that’s situated inside the Aurora Oval in the world’s northern hemisphere making it the premier place to see the Northern Lights. We will unravel the magic of the Canadian aurora borealis and delve into the profound connection Indigenous Peoples have with this awe-inspiring phenomenon.
Understanding the Aurora Borealis
The Aurora Borealis happens when charged particles from the solar collide with gases in Earth’s environment, creating gorgeous shapes and patterns that paint the night time sky with vibrant colours. This outcomes in a surreal visible expertise that has impressed numerous myths and legends, comparable to the Finnish perception that the lights are created by an Arctic fox working by way of the snow, or the Southern Hemisphere’s personal model, the Aurora Australis (Southern Lights)
The science behind the Northern Lights is fascinating, however its cultural significance is equally compelling. Indigenous Peoples in Canada view the Aurora Borealis as a religious and ancestral connection, with varied communities believing that the lights symbolize a unending power and a hyperlink to their ancestors. This deep connection to the Northern Lights provides an additional layer of marvel to an already charming expertise.
The Perfect Time for Northern Lights Viewing
Timing is the whole lot on the subject of witnessing the Northern Lights in their full glory. The finest time to see the Northern Lights in Canada is usually between November and March when there’s much less daylight and the skies are darker. Solar exercise additionally performs a job, as the fall equinox in September and the spring equinox in March often have greater photo voltaic exercise, however extra daylight throughout these months reduces the probabilities of seeing the lights.
While you could assume summer season can be a really perfect time for aurora searching, the midnight solar in a few of Canada’s northernmost areas truly drowns out the Northern Lights, making them barely seen, if in any respect in the summer season. So, for the finest probability of witnessing this pure marvel, plan your journey throughout the darker winter months.
The auroral Oval
Much of Northern Canada sits beneath the auroral zone, often known as the aurora belt or aurora oval. This geographic space homes the finest areas for seeing the northern lights. This zone encircles the geomagnetic poles of the Earth and is the place the planet’s magnetic subject is strongest.
In these areas, charged particles emitted from the solar (photo voltaic wind) work together with the Earth’s magnetic subject and collide with gases in the Earth’s environment, inflicting the spectacular mild shows for which the auroras are recognized.
Its visibility might be affected by photo voltaic exercise, climate circumstances, and light-weight air pollution. If you wish to see northern lights, it’s really helpful to be as far north as attainable inside the auroral oval, in a location with a transparent darkish night time sky, and to watch auroral exercise.
When photo voltaic wind and Earth’s magnetic subject work together throughout prime Aurora months, it causes a disturbance in the magnetosphere, resulting in the Northern Lights. This interplay creates a response that makes the magnetic subject strains stretch, twist, and launch power, ensuing in the lovely colours and shapes of the auroras. So, for the finest odds of catching this unimaginable mild present, plan your journey throughout the prime months for Aurora viewing.
Optimal Hours and Moon Phases
The finest hours for catching the Northern Lights are often between 10 pm and a pair of am, significantly a couple of hours after sunset and round native photo voltaic midnight (± 2 hours). Moon phases may also play a job in Aurora viewing.
A full moon could make the Aurora look washed out to the bare eye. But photographers will be capable of seize the lights even with out seeing the northern lights vividly.
The finest moon to see northern lights in is a brand new moon or crescent moon. The darker the skies the higher probability of seeing the northern lights together with your eyes.
Top Canadian Destinations for Northern Lights Chasing
Canada provides a mess of unimaginable locations for chasing the Northern Lights, with distant and accessible areas throughout the nation offering gorgeous views of this pure marvel. From the polar bear capital of Churchill, Manitoba, to the rugged fantastic thing about Jasper National Park, Alberta, there’s an ideal spot for each aurora hunter in Northern Canada.
We are going to cowl the hottest aurora experiences in Canada comparable to The Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Northern Manitoba, Northern Quebec, Northern Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
November to March is taken into account the prime time to see northern lights in Canada resulting from elevated photo voltaic exercise throughout these months.
Churchill, Manitoba, is called the “polar bear capital of the world” and provides a first-rate location for Aurora viewing between October and April. The city sits beneath the Auroral Zone so can see the Northern Lights on nights seen as much as 300 nights a yr relying on mild air pollution. We have seen the Auroras every time we went on a polar bear safari in Churchill. It is really magical to see polar bears by day and Auroras by night time. See all the particulars from our journeys right here: Things to do in Churchill Manitoba – Land of the Polar Bears
We have gone to go to the polar bears thrice in Churchill whereas staying on the shores of Hudson Bay and we now have all the time seen the Northern Lights. Even late in the summer season months on shorter days, we nonetheless managed to see the northern lights.
We journey with Churchill Wild who has three lodges on the Hudson Bay. Being far-off from the mild air pollution in the metropolis, these lodges are one in all the finest locations to see the northern lights in the world. You actually can depend on catching a glimpse. Churchill is so dependable that you could be spot the lights anytime, even in summer season.
You don’t have to go to a distant lodge although, Churchill is a small city with loads of alternatives to see the northern lights. It’s extra inexpensive to remain in Churchill the place you’ll be able to select from cozy lodges or conventional lodge that can take you out on a a Tundra Buggy Explorer journey.
Best time to go: November by way of March Nights seen: Up to 300 nights per yr
Whitehorse, Yukon, is a well-liked vacation spot to additionally see the northern lights resulting from its straightforward accessibility and little mild air pollution. The finest viewing alternatives to see the Aurora Borealis in the Yukon are between November and March. The high locations to view are Miles Canyon, Fish Lake, and Mount McIntyre Recreation Center:
While Whitehorse is well accessible, why not make your approach to our favourite metropolis in the Yukon, Dawson City? This is extra of a village than a metropolis. The city sits on the Yukon River beneath a hill referred to as the Midnight Dome the place guests watch the midnight solar throughout the summer season months, however in the winter, it’s a great place to see northern lights dazzle above the city.
What Else Is there to do in the Yukon in Winter
When you’re in Whitehorse, Yukon, there’s no scarcity of enjoyable actions to maintain you occupied whilst you await the Northern Lights to make their look. You might strive your hand at canine sledding, ice fishing, or take a leisurely stroll round the Yukon Wildlife Preserve. If you’re extra of a thrill-seeker, why not go snowmobiling on Lake Laberge?
After all that exercise, you’ll be able to calm down and unwind by soaking in the out of doors swimming pools at the Takhini Hot Springs. It’s a incredible approach to spend your time as you anticipate the unimaginable mild present that awaits you.
Don’t overlook to discover the charming Main Street and different sights throughout your keep in this enchanting Yukon vacation spot.
For a very immersive Northern Lights expertise, take into account staying at the Northern Lights Resort & Spa, which provides chalets with massive glass home windows for unobstructed Aurora views. Additionally, one-night Northern Lights excursions can be found in Whitehorse, a location with mesmerizing metropolis lights, for these quick on time.
The finest time to go: November by way of the finish of April Nights seen: Up to 240 nights per yr
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, is one other prime location for Northern Lights viewing, because of its place beneath the auroral oval. Sitting on the shores of Great Slave Lake, Yellowknife is the capital metropolis of the territory and is one in all the closest Canadian cities to the North Pole.
The finest time to go to Yellowknife for Aurora searching is between November and April. During your keep, you’ll be able to select from varied lodges and exercise facilities centered on the Northern Lights expertise.
What to do in Yellowknife
While in Yellowknife, you’ll get to take pleasure in a complete package deal that takes care of all of your wants. It consists of scrumptious meals to maintain you energized all through your keep. You’ll even have cozy lodging to relaxation in after a day of journey.
If you’re a fan of flying, you’re in for a deal with. The package deal features a float airplane journey that gives you a chicken’s eye view of the breathtaking landscapes. And when you’re an animal lover, you’ll love the tour of the bison sanctuary. It’s a novel alternative to see these majestic creatures in their pure habitat.
The finest time to go: December to April Nights seen: Up to 240 nights per yr
The Canadian Rockies – Jasper National Park
If you’re planning to chase the Northern Lights in Alberta make your approach to the Canadian Rockies. It’s one in all the finest areas to expertise the Aurora Borealis. In the Canadian Rockies, the lights are energetic year-round, however they’re most energetic from Autumn to early spring. Read subsequent: 38 Best Things to Do in Jasper Canada in 2023
Jasper is a chosen Dark Sky Preserve because of its clear skies and low mild air pollution. It is a perfect location for witnessing the Northern Lights as much as 300 nights a yr. The finest time to go to Jasper to see the northern lights is between September and May when the northern skies are darkish for hours. However, you’ll be able to spot lights year-round if the circumstances are proper.
Apart from chasing the Northern Lights, Jasper National Park provides a variety of thrilling actions, comparable to mountain climbing, cross-country snowboarding, mountain biking, and wildlife recognizing. Don’t miss the annual Dark Sky Festival in October, which celebrates the park’s pristine night time skies and provides a incredible alternative to catch the Aurora Borealis. It is one in all the finest locations in the world to see the northern lights because of its clear skies. Check out: 14 Best Hikes in Jasper National Park – Alberta Canada
The finest time to go: September to May Nights seen: Up to 300 nights per yr
On the different hand, Banff National Park, whereas not as well-known for Northern Lights viewing as Jasper, can nonetheless supply some incredible shows, particularly in winter. It’s situated simply 4 hours south of Jasper with many locations to view darkish skies as properly. Read extra: 17 Best Stops Along the Icefields Parkway In 2023
The park’s excessive elevation and clear, darkish skies create the good circumstances for recognizing the Aurora. Some of the finest locations to strive your luck in Banff embrace Lake Minnewanka, Castle Mountain, and Peyto Lake. Just keep in mind, persistence is vital on the subject of Aurora searching! The Best Things to Do in Banff, Canada
Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador is one in all the finest locations to expertise the Aurora Borealis. With untouched wilderness and a small inhabitants, you’ll be able to see northern lights as much as 60 nights a yr. The prime time for catching the lights in this area is between September and October, and March and April. Top areas for Aurora searching in Newfoundland and Labrador embrace the Torngat Mountains National Park and Battle Harbour.
Things to do in Newfoundland and Labrador
During your go to to Newfoundland and Labrador, you’re in for a deal with with a number of gorgeous sights that you would be able to discover. Start off your journey with a go to to Signal Hill. This historic web site provides panoramic views of St. John’s and the surrounding areas. It’s additionally the web site the place the first transatlantic wi-fi sign was obtained, including a contact of historical past to your go to.
Next in your record must be the Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Site which dates again to the nineteenth century. As the most easterly level in North America, it provides breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.
A go to to Gros Morne National Park is a should. With its various panorama of mountains, forests, and coastal lowlands, it provides loads of mountain climbing trails the place you’ll be able to immerse your self in the fantastic thing about nature.
Finally, spherical off your go to with a visit to L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site. This archaeological web site is the solely recognized Viking settlement in North America.
The finest time to go: September and October, and March and April Nights seen: Up to 60 nights per yr
We have had the privilege of snowmobiling to the far north of Quebec to witness some spectacular night time skies. For a very distant Northern Lights expertise, enterprise to Kuujjuaq, Quebec, a small village situated in the Nunavik area.
If you actually wish to witness the Aurora Borealis, Kuujjuaq, Quebec is the place. Its northern location and proximity to the Aurora Oval present unimaginable alternatives for witnessing the Northern Lights, particularly between October and March.
What is there to do in Kuujjuaq Quebec?
Kuujjuaq provides a novel and off-the-beaten-path expertise for Aurora chasers in search of an genuine reference to nature.
During your keep, you may as well take part in actions comparable to trout fishing and recognizing native wildlife like caribou and Musk Ox.
The finest time to go: October and March Nights seen: Up to 240 nights per yr
Preparing for the Cold of Northern Canada
Winter temperatures in Canada can vary from -1°C to -40°C (30°F to -40°F) much more with the wind chill. To keep heat and comfy, it’s necessary to layer up with high-quality thermal clothes that’s breathable and constructed from supplies like merino wool. Make positive to put on liner gloves in order that your pores and skin shouldn’t be uncovered to the chilly.
In addition to clothes, we recommend packing ski goggles, hand heaters and foot heaters, balaclava, insulated boots, and a heat hat. See our ideas 5 Winter Layering Tips to Dress for Extreme Cold Weather
Checking Aurora Forecasts
To see how your probabilities of seeing the Northern Lights are, test the Aurora forecast or the Kp index. The greater the Kp index, the greater the geomagnetic exercise, and the higher your probabilities of seeing the Northern Lights.
You can test the forecast on websites like NOAA Space Weather or Aurora Notify, which offer estimated Kp ranges for the subsequent few days. We use the Aurora Forecast
Photographing the Northern Lights
Photographing the Northern Lights might be difficult. To seize gorgeous pictures of the Aurora Borealis, you’ll want a digicam with handbook settings, a quick wide-angle or ultra-wide-angle lens, and a tripod to maintain your digicam regular throughout lengthy exposures. However, Deb caught some nice pictures of the Northern Lights along with her iPhone 15 ProMax.
Experiment with capturing the Northern Lights by:
Using gradual shutter speeds of 10-15 seconds and night time mode Keep your ISO as little as you’ll be able to to eradicate noise. Use handbook focus and focus to infinity in your lens. Consider utilizing an exterior set off to manage your digicam remotely or utilizing the 2-second timer in your digicam. Keeping in thoughts composition guidelines like together with a foreground component or a north-facing composition to get the lights in the sky Not being afraid to experiment and have enjoyable together with your pictures
By following the following pointers, you’ll be sure you seize the finest Northern Lights pictures, showcasing the magical fantastic thing about the Northern Lights pictures to cherish for a lifetime.
Is a Northern Lights Tour Worth It?
Yes, a Northern Lights tour is price it. Guided excursions supply skilled data, tailor-made itineraries, and hassle-free planning in your Northern Lights journey. Local guides who know the finest spots for Northern Lights Canada and might share invaluable ideas for maximizing your probabilities of witnessing the lights. These excursions typically embrace transportation, lodging, meals, and varied actions, making it a hassle-free and well-rounded expertise.
Popular Northern Lights tour packages cater to totally different preferences and budgets, with costs beginning at round $2,900 and going as much as over $7,000 relying on the resort class, area, time of yr, and size of keep for northern lights viewing.
Some respected corporations providing Northern Lights excursions in Canada embrace Churchill Wild
These tour packages typically embrace:
Round-trip airport, resort, and tour floor transportation Multiple nights of Aurora searching excursions Free scorching drinks and snacks throughout the excursions The choice to get Aurora group participation photos
By selecting a guided tour package deal, you’ll be able to take pleasure in a memorable and well-organized Northern Lights expertise that caters to your particular pursuits and wishes.
About the Northern Lights
Auroras can happen in each of the earth’s poles. In the Southern Hemisphere, they are appropriately referred to as the Southern Lights or Aurora Australis. Our lodge guides at Churchill Wild used to run a lodge in Tasmania, and after witnessing the southern hemisphere lights, they mentioned they wished to maneuver to the northern hemisphere to see the Northern Lights. Combine polar bears and northern lights and you’ve got one in all the most enjoyable winter actions that you would be able to hope for!
What month is finest to see the northern lights in Canada?
The finest time to see the Northern Lights in Canada is from November to March when the nights are lengthy and darkish with clear skies. This permits for the next likelihood of viewing the present resulting from the darkness which makes the lights seem brighter. You can see them as early as September and as late as April.
Where in Canada are there Northern Lights?
Churchill is the finest place to see Northern Lights in Canada. Yellowknife, in Canada’s Northwest Territories, can be the finest place to witness the Northern Lights show in Canada. Located south of the Arctic Circle and beneath the Aurora Oval is is one in all the closest cities in Canada to the North Pole,
Can you see the northern lights in Calgary Canada?
You can see the northern lights in Calgary, relying on the depth of geomagnetic storms (G3 or stronger). Just be certain that to get away from the metropolis lights to keep away from mild air pollution.
What time will the northern lights be seen in Alberta?
The Northern Lights are finest seen in Edmonton from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., with peak viewing round midnight. Don’t overlook to look north after darkish!
What are some high Canadian locations for Northern Lights?
Churchill, Manitoba; Whitehorse, Yukon; Yellowknife, Northwest Territories; Jasper, Alberta; Newfoundland and Labrador; and Kuujjuaq, Quebec.
So, whether or not you’re a seasoned Aurora chaser or a first-time adventurer, embark on this unimaginable journey to unlock the spectacular fantastic thing about the Northern Lights in Canada. The sky is ready to captivate and encourage you.