Updated on 28 October 2020

First things first. You may have heard that we are currently experiencing something called a solar minimum. Some sources claim that seeing the aurora borealis is nearly impossible during a solar minimum making it not a good time to book a holiday to see the Northern Lights. Fear not – we can prove that you can still see spectacular Northern Lights displays even though we are in the solar minimum. So this shouldn’t stop you from making your dream of seeing the Northern Lights a reality.

What is the solar minimum & what does it mean for you?

The solar minimum refers to the period in the 11 year sun cycle where the sun is least active. Meaning that sun spots and flares occur less. But according to scientists at NASA this isn’t a bad thing: “While intense activity such as sunspots and solar flares subside during solar minimum, that doesn’t mean the sun becomes dull. Solar activity simply changes form.”

Scientist Dean Pesnell of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD even said that during the solar minimum there is an increase in long-lasting coronal holes. Why does that matter to you? Because coronal holes release the particles that turn into strong solar winds, which are then responsible for what we see as Northern Lights when they hit the Earth’s magnetic field.

Pesnell says “We see these holes throughout the solar cycle, but during solar minimum, they can last for a long time – six months or more.”

In short: even scientists say that the solar minimum doesn’t mean that we can’t see Northern Lights.

So without further ado, here is why the solar minimum shouldn’t stop you from seeing the Northern Lights!

Solar Storm October 2018 during solar minimum
Solar Storm October 2018 – Photo by Tiina Salonen

100% success rate despite solar minimum

We are thrilled to tell you that we have had a 100% success rate in the solar minimum seasons, so 2018-2019 and 2019-2020. This means that everyone who has visited us between September and March both these years has seen the Aurora Borealis at least once. Now we cannot ever guarantee that someone is going to see lights BUT we pride ourselves in promising to make it our upmost priority to try in every way possible to make your dream of seeing the Northern Lights come true.

Aurora Holidays 100% success rate even during solar minimum

So despite the solar minimum we not only had regular Northern Lights sighting here in Utsjoki, but there were also some very strong geomagnetic storms causing all sorts of colourful shapes and movements in the sky. Our guests have seen everything from a faint green arch to bride and beautiful coronas.

If you’re still a little unsure whether the coming season is the right time to book a Northern Lights holiday, we think some visual inspiration might help. Here are some of Aurora Holiday’s favourite Northern Lights displays and moments from the previous season.

Beautiful Northern Lights display with reflections in October – Photo: Tiina Salonen
Strong auroras dancing over our cottages here in Utsjoki – Photo: Tiina Salonen
GLTFinland Aurora chasing
Auroras lighting up the winter wonderland in January – Photo: Tiina Salonen
Northern Lights swirling across the sky in Lapland during solar minimum
Northern Lights swirling across the sky in November – Photo: Maria Berz
Beautiful Northern Lights in February – Photo: Maria Berz

Why choose Aurora Holidays to make your dream of seeing the Northern Lights come true?

Did you know that all our autumn and winter packages from September to March include 3 nights of guided Northern Lights chasing? Your experienced guides will choose the most promising nights of the week to chase the aurora borealis. We are flexible when it comes to times and driving distance of our tours to create the best odds possible.

We also want to make sure you have a souvenir to take home and remember that special moment, so if and when the Northern Lights are visible, our professional guides take photos of the Northern Lights for you. Want a picture of you with lady aurora? No problem, we take portraits too and email them to you after your holiday. Not only that, we also offer a free of charge Northern Lights photography workshop to help you make the most of your equipment.

A holiday at Aurora Holidays is about so much more than just Northern Lights. We also want to make sure that you have some unforgettable moments during the daytime, making your holiday an all-round experience. That’s why we have selected some of our favourite outdoor and cultural experiences for you to enjoy as day activities.

We had a wonderful time sharing an insight with life in Lapland with our guests and truly made some memories to last us a lifetime. It has been an absolute pleasure to meet so many of you from all around the world and introduce you to winter in Lapland. So we want to thank you for choosing Aurora Holidays!

Day Hike Utsjoki - Photo by Amanda Rowen
Our mascot Reino the Reindeer meets GLTer Ilysse – Photo by Amanda Rowen

A new solar cycle is starting

After a couple of years of near inactivity, which marked the solar minimum, the sun is waking up again in the end of 2020. This is a sign that a new solar cycle is starting, with more frequent solar storms to come in the future. So if you still don’t believe us that solar minimum is a great time to see the northern lights, then fear not, solar maximum is coming soon too!

One Response to “Why the solar minimum shouldn’t stop you from seeing the Northern Lights”

  1. I thought the solar minimum was a time where you can’t see the Northern Lights but thanks to your informative article this is proved wrong. After reading your article even I feel like seeing the Northern Lights in real life. I will definitely take my family to see the Northern Lights and I will definitely choose Aurora Holidays! It was a pleasure reading your article. I learnt a lot from it. I really appreciate the efforts you have taken to write this wonderful article. Thank you.

Leave a Reply