So, you are coming to Rovaniemi and you want to see the Northern Lights? We have made this beginners guide for you!
Where to see The Lights?
Rovaniemi is located at the Arctic Circle, so it is definitely a good place to see the Lights. You might have seen some photos of the famous landmarks in the city centre with the Northern Lights background. Unfortunately seeing the lights from the city centre is possible only during the powerful solar storms. It is better to get out of the town into a place that has no light pollution. You also need a clear view to the northern sky, since the auroras won't always dance on top of your head. Lakeshores are the best for this, but you can also go next to a swamp or a field. When you have the right location, you need some luck; clear weather and solar activity.
What is the best time to see The Lights?
Successful Northern Lights hunting takes some planning. First you need to choose the right location for the day. You need to check the forecasts for both, the weather and solar activity. You can search the solar activity from Android and iPhone apps meant to forecast the Northern Lights. The weather should be clear, or at least partially clear. Do not go Aurora hunting too early, usually the Lights can be observed the best closer to midnight! In summertime it is not possible to see the Auroras because of the Midnight sun. The Northern Lights season goes from late August to mid April here in Rovaniemi.
Preparing for the Northern Lights huntFirst of all it is best to have a car available as you might need to change the location quickly in case of clouds appearing to the area. The most common mistake for hunting the Auroras is not to wear enough clothes. When observing and waiting the Auroras, you might have to stand long times in one spot and the temperatures especially during the winter are freezing! We recommend a thick jacket and ski pants, or a thermal overall. Also, beneath the jacket and pants we recommend having multiple inner layers too! Proper winter boots and gloves are also necessary since fingers and toes are the first places to catch the cold.
Most probably you also want to photograph the Lights. DSLR or DSLM cameras are the best for this, but even the newest phones and action cameras are often able to capture the Lights. Whatever camera you have, you need a tripod to keep it steady as in long exposures you might need to keep your camera still as long as 30 seconds. It is also good to have at least two batteries for your camera and some nice wide-angle lens for capturing the whole skyline.
In case you are having your holiday in Rovaniemi and just want to relax from all this planning, easiest is to book the Aurora hunting tour; we will make the planning for you and you will get a car, guide/photographer, clothing, snacks and professional instructions of how to shoot the Northern Lights with your camera!
Good luck for Aurora hunting!