Aurora hunting, in either hemisphere

We were tasked with visiting and commenting on previously unknown blogs as part of the zerotohero challenge day 11.

I typed in one word to see where it lead me, and in the 24 hours since I’ve ‘chatted’ with three new bloggers. All three had totally different posts sharing the same tag.

I arrived at Two Clowns Tripping where the author (Andrew) described how he spent his time waiting (almost in vain) for the aurora australis to show up. At the end of his post he asked for feedback on our favourite photo. This is the comment I left on his post.

The barnacles, followed by the silhouettes. Nice you could see the aurora. Unfortunately we’ve had too much cloud cover in Helsinki to see anything. It’s a real shame, as we don’t get to see them so far south very often. Excellent shots!

If you follow the ping-back, you’ll see that we continued the conversation a little. Andrew presumed that because I was so far north, that the aurorae would be a common sight, even in Helsinki. In the 12 or so years of living in Finland, I’ve seen aurorae once! Even then, I initially thought that it was one of those big spot lights shining in the sky. I missed one of the better shows in 2013. It was the end of a really hectic day and I’d crashed. I woke up to see comments from just about all of my Helsinki friends oohing and ahhing over the great show!

It seems that in Finland, to see aurora borealis at its’ best you have to travel north. There are plenty of websites and groups that post regularly when there is an increased likelihood of aurora activity. Due to the geomagnetic storm activity last week, we were promised the likelihood of aurorae in the south. Promising the likelihood of something is very vague! Due to heavy cloud cover we didn’t get to see any aurorae. Instead all that heavy cloud cover delivered long overdue snow. Can’t win them all now, can we.

Growing up in Tasmania, we saw aurora australis fairly frequently. At least to memory, it feels frequent. While I know time and age play tricks on the memory, I know that I’ve seen more aurorae in Tasmania than Finland.

Why is that though? Where I grew up in Tasmania is approximately 43 degrees south, where I live in Helsinki is 60 degrees north. You would think Finland would be the better bet. Especially as they say that activity is most likely to be seen in the auroral zones (in other words, quite close to the magnetic poles). Even to see as far south as Helsinki, on the 60th parallel is quite rare.

I’m not even going to try to figure it out, although it is feasible that aurorae are quite possibly more common in the southern part of Finland than we realise. Perhaps there is too much light pollution, the cloud cover is too heavy or I don’t get out often enough on cold dark evenings. All are equally plausible in my book!

In the meantime, there is a new blog for me (and my followers) to check out. Enjoy 🙂


5 thoughts on “Aurora hunting, in either hemisphere

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  1. I grew up on the NW coast of Tassie & I can remember mum & dad getting us up one night in our PJs & we all got into the car & drove out into the country to see the Aurora. It was pretty amazing. I’ve not seen it as an adult. Where I am now I’m surrounded by mountains & I don’t seem to be able to find the energy to go out chasing Aurorae at night these days! But my Twitter feed is always full of people who do & I’ve seen some great pictures over recent months.
    Last year there was an Aurora photo exhibition at the coffee shop at Mt Nelson – there were some stunning photos there!


  2. You’ve got me interested in what the single word was that you searched for!

    I’d love to get to Finland one day. I guess it’s only a hop skip and a jump across from Latvia? Two birds with one stone and all that… 🙂


  3. Well, I’ve been fortunate to see northern lights a few times in the northern part of the country as we do a lot of outdoor activities, like snowshoeing. But I guess now living in the south, we won’t see much:-(


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