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Northern Lights Forecast

northern_lights_stockfishCheck the northern lights forecast to see if you’re likely to see the Aurora tonight. But read this article first - so you understand the forecast!


Go to the northern lights forecast


Although not as accurate as a weather forecast, a forecast of solar activity will give you a good indication of whether there will be Aurora in the skies or not.


Understanding the forecast can be a bit tricky, as it is not as straight-forward as it may look. But read this article first, and you´ll be able to maneuvre around the forecast to where you want.

"I don´t need any explanation!"

Go straight to the northern lights forecast in English

How to see the northern lights forecast

The forecasts are provided by the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Check the forecast in English or Norwegian (link opens in new window).


On the English website the default location is set to Alaska.


To change the view you will have to go to the top left corner where it says “Current View” and below the pictures click your way to "Europe view" on the “Available Views” tag. See picture below.


IMPORTANT! This is not the forecast - just a screengrab to illustrate. Go to the forecast (opens in new window).


What to look for in the forecast

The map that comes up on the Europe view shows Northern Europe from the Northern tip of Scotland, Iceland in the West and Russia in the East.


Right in the middle of the map you see Norwegian city of Tromso marked on the map.


IMPORTANT! This is not the forecast - just a screengrab to illustrate. Go to the forecast (opens in new window).


Tromso is a very popular destination for northern lights holidays, but also the slightly further north city of Alta(about 5mm further up on the map), where the famous ice hotel is located, is a good spot for northern lights. Read more about northern lights holidays in Norway.

Read our guide to the best places to see the northern lights.


Across the map you will see a green hazy line, the thickness depends on the amount of northern lights expected for the time of prediction, which is stated below the picture (remember the time difference!).


Below the map, the forecast will explain the expected amounts of Aurora in the next 24 hours.


Above the map and the activity scale, you can click to days further ahead in time. See illustration below.


IMPORTANT! This is not the forecast - just a screengrab to illustrate. Go to the forecast (opens in new window).

Read our guide to when to see the northern lights.


“Oh No! The forecast is really poor!”

Don’t be alarmed if the forecast says low activity. That is why people travel so far north to see them.


If the forecast scale said 6 or 7, the northern lights would be visible much further South than just the Arctic Circle.


The green hazy line indicates where, weather permitting, the northern lights may be spotted that day.


As you can see – Tromso and Northern Norway is perfectly located for Aurora, even on very low activity days.


How do they predict the northern lights?

The northern lights are really a result of solar activity and solar winds.


With strong solar winds there is a likelihood of good northern lights displays, whilst if there’s little solar wind the northern lights drop off.


The scientists study the sun and the activity there, and they are able to predict the build up of winds. A big explosion on the surface of the sun is likely to cause a lot of solar winds for example.


The solar wind takes about 2-3 days to reach the earth from the sun, which means the forecasts can be made a couple of days in advance.


Long term forecasts

In addition to these predictions, the scientists may be able to forecast northern lights almost a month in advance.


Because sun spins on its own axis every 27 days, if there is a lot of activity one day – it might cause northern lights again 27 days later.


What the scientists can do is pinpoint exactly where in the Arctic the northern lights will appear, as all the measurements they do are on a global basis.

Find and book your perfect northern lights package.

Want a personalised northern lights holiday? Just fill in the customised booking form from Nordic Visitor!


Read our Top ten tips for seeing the northern lights to increase your chances.


Go to the forecast

In English

In Norwegian