- 400km/sec solar winds
- 90 to 500 kilometres above the earth's surface
- 04 months of prime viewing season
Race to the window or run outside to see ribbons of green, red, blue and purple rippling across the sky, gathering momentum until the Northern Lights shimmer and loop over the entire horizon in surreal swathes of colour. Watch in silence in Nunavut and you’ll understand how many Inuit believe the lights become so intense they sing or crackle. The Aurora Borealis is Mother Nature’s light show so grab a front row seat in fall, winter and early spring when nights are long and dark. Try your luck at fly-fishing for Arctic Char by the lights of the Aurora in far Northern Quebec or pair light-peeping in the Northwest Territories with a locally sourced, gourmet meal of caribou, or pickerel plucked from an icy lake near your log lodge. The Aurora is so bright it can light the way for snowmobilers on Labrador's epic Cain's Quest or for dog mushers and cross-country skiers in the Yukon. But the breathtaking displays are just as enjoyable from within the cozy confines of a cabin, tent or glimpsed through the steam of an outdoor hot tub in the lap of luxury. Then slide under a duvet or into a sleeping bag and dream of Technicolor cosmic fairies.
Newfoundland and Labrador
- Set off from Labrador City, and snowmobile 1,429 miles of rugged winter terrain during the annual April Cain’s Quest Snowmobile Endurance Race, Canada’s longest snowmobile endurance race.
- Explore the spectacular fjords and Inuit heritage of the Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve camping out on the tundra watching for polar bears, caribou and Northern Lights.
- Dash across moonlit snow near Yellowknife in a dogsled behind the enthusiastic pups of Beck’s Kennels then sleep Gold Rush-style in heated prospector tents with one eye on the sky.
- Drive from Whitehorse to Tuktoyaktuk on the Arctic Ocean across an ice road that reflects the many colours of the Northern Lights.
- Hop a bush plane to Great Slave Lake for the rustic log luxury of Blachford Lodge: dine gourmet, play in the snow then watch the shimmying sky-lights from a hot tub.
- Join Northerners and celebrate in Iqaluit as they shake off the cabin fever of a long winter during Toonik Tyme: go ice fishing, play pond hockey, build an igloo and hop on a dog sled across frozen sea ice beneath the dancing Northern Lights.
- Set off a northern float plane safari to Arctic Quebec’s Rapid Lake Lodge to fly-fish, hike along fjords and go wildlife viewing by day on the Nunavik tundra and Northern Light-gazing by night.
- The lights may not be in the sky every night, but you can see them indoors anytime at the Northern Lights Centre in Watson Lake.
- Grab a gold pan, learn to dance the cancan, recite Robert Service poetry and watch the Aurora Borealis in historic Dawson City, Canada’s Klondike gold rush capital.
- Head into the dark wilderness outside Whitehorse, watch the night sky billow with sheets of rainbow colours, warm up to the heat of a wood fire in a classic Northern wall.
- Tackle the Trek Over the Top, a long distance snowmobile adventure between Alaska and Dawson City.
- Expect below-freezing temperatures in the sub and high Arctic regions where Northern Lights are a common occurrence on clear nights between September and April, depending on the latitude.
- Discover local weather information. Research local weather patterns at Environment Canada's Canadian Climate Website.
- Northern Lights occur year-round, but can generally only be seen on relatively dark, clear nights.
- Depending on the latitude, they are visible from September through April.
- Bring warm clothing including a parka, gloves, and warm boots for frequent nighttime forays into the chilly air outside.
- Check out the Northern Lights forecast before you go.