Where to see the northern lights all over the world

As Ladakh, northern Europe and Australasia, witnessed unusual Aurora activity, social media lit up with magnificent snaps.

From Ladakh to northern Europe to Australasia, unusually-timed halos of Northern Lights recently surprised the world—courtesy of the biggest solar storm in more than 20 years.

The thought of the Northern Lights is enough to get anyone dreaming of snow-capped scapes and psychedelic skies. Despite being the off-season, seven solar storms over the last weekend triggered solar flares that led to the surprise Aurora Borealis sightings across the world.

Luckily for those who missed it, the NOAA and NASA forecasts predict the current cycle of solar flares will peak next July. Here are some destinations you can visit to catch a stronger-than-ever Aurora this year.

Skálholt, Iceland

This historic town is a part of Iceland’s famed Golden Circle route and was the country’s capital for over 700 years. The Skálholt Cathedral and the 5 Million Star Hotel — a stargazing campsite in the middle of the forest — are popular spots to catch the Aurora Borealis.

North Norfolk coast, England

Perhaps one of the few places to catch the Aurora Borealis in the UK. Two sites within Norfolk’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty were also awarded the Dark Sky Discovery Site status.

Ingraham Trail, Canada

One of the most famous destinations for catching the Northern Lights, this 70 km-long trail begins in the town of Yellowknife and ends at the remote Tibbit Lake. How to reach: Hop on a flight to Toronto or Vancouver and then fly to Yellowknife and keep driving along Highway 4 till you reach Tibbit Lake.

Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

Ditch the Swedish Lapland experience for a more intimate affair in this small village located 18km from Kiruna. It is also home to the world’s largest snow and ice hotel, first built in 1989. It is reborn every winter and melts away into the Torne River each summer. How to reach: Fly to Stockholm Arlanda Airport then take a domestic flight to Kiruna Airport before driving down to Jukkasjärvi.

Rovaniemi, Finland

Dubbed the official hometown of Santa Claus, the locals here see the Aurora as the souls of the dead or the glimmering armour of the Valkyrie, riding in the night sky. In Finnish, the word for Northern Lights–‘revontulet’–refers to a mystical firefox lighting the sky on fire with its tail. Pick snowmobiles, husky sledges, snowshoes, and reindeer sleighs and spend a night chasing with a local expert at “The Official Hometown of Santa Claus.”

Northern Lights in Ladakh?

In a rare event, Stanzin Norla, an engineer at the MACE Telescope, shared an image of the Stable Auroral Red (SAR) Arcs online. Norla captured the image from the Hanle Dark Sky Reserve in Ladakh on Saturday. “A very rare phenomenon… Eta Aquarid meteor shower added more beauty to the Aurora,” he wrote on X. This was not the first time an Aurora has been spotted in Ladakh, which is India’s first Dark Sky Reserve. It last occurred on April 22 and 23, 2023, which was caused by a coronal mass ejection.

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