Welcome to SeeTheAurora.com

Seeing the aurora is a goal for many, but a lot of people don’t know how. Many are unaware that the northern lights can even be seen in the lower US. I created this website as a guide for those who want to learn all about the northern lights and how to view and photograph them. It was October 24, 2011 when I saw the aurora borealis for the first time. Despite living beneath the bright light pollution of northern Illinois, I watched in amazement as half the sky was filled with color. Red, purple, and green pillars rose up and exploded across the northern sky, changing by the second. Ever since then I’ve been hooked. In the years since I’ve been privileged to see and photograph the northern lights more than 100 times from 8 US states and 5 countries. No two displays are alike, they always vary in color, shape, and intensity.


  • Guide to Seeing the Aurora in Alaska
  • Guide to Seeing the Aurora in Yellowknife
  • Best Places in the US to See the Aurora
  • How to Time Lapse the Aurora

Types of Aurora

The aurora borealis takes many forms, and every single display is different. Time of night, solar wind speed, magnetic field strength, moonlight, and many other factors influence how it looks. The northern lights also appear different depending on who is watching. The more stargazing experience someone has, and the younger…
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Guide to Seeing the Aurora in Greenland

Greenland is a place unlike anywhere else. The world’s largest island is bigger than Alaska. Yet 80% of it is covered in an ice sheet and uninhabitable. Only 56,583 people live here, giving it a population density of 0.1/sq mi. Towering mountains rise straight out of the sea among uncountable rocky…
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Guide to Seeing the Aurora in Sweden

Located in the far north of Sweden at a latitude of 68 degrees, Abisko is arguably the best spot for aurora viewing in all of Europe. But it is less popular than Iceland or Tromsø, Norway. While I wouldn’t call it cheap, Sweden is certainly less expensive than the aforementioned countries….
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Personal Aurora Sightings

  It was 2010 when I first became interested in seeing the aurora as the sun was coming out of solar minimum. After discovering Spaceweather.com, it’s been one of my favorite websites ever since. October of 2011 is when I saw the aurora for the very first time. From that point on,…
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10 Best Places in the World To See the Aurora

If it’s your dream to see the aurora in person, then you can’t do better than to visit one of these places. All the locations listed (except for #10), are situated underneath the auroral oval. This means that the aurora may be visible on any clear night, even when solar activity…
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Aurora Stats and Averages

[Updated January 2024]Climatologists study records of Earth’s weather to calculate averages and find trends and patterns.I wanted to do the same with space weather to find out how geomagnetic activity varies by year, month, and day. The British Geological Survey (BGS) has been keeping records of geomagnetic activity since 1932….
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KP Index Explained

Open full screen map The Kp-index is a scale used to characterize the magnitude of geomagnetic disturbances. A geomagnetic storm starts at Kp5 after which the G-scale is also used. Kp0 = Quiet Kp1 = Quiet Kp2 = Quiet Kp3 = Unsettled Kp4 = Active Kp5 = Minor storm (G1)…
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How to See the Aurora

I recommend reading the What Causes the Aurora post first. Seeing the aurora is simply a matter of being in the right place at the right time. But how do you know where and when to go? What sort of conditions should you be looking for? Live Data The Kp-index is one…
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How to Photograph the Aurora

There are 2 reasons to photograph the aurora. The first is the same reason you’d photograph anything amazing, to preserve the memory and share with others. But the 2nd reason is the northern lights show up much clearer in a picture than they do to the naked eye. This is…
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What Causes the Aurora

Before learning how to see the aurora, first it helps to know where they come from. To understand what causes the aurora first you must know a bit about the sun. The Sun The sun hangs in space 150 million kilometers away from Earth. A ball of hot plasma 1.4…
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