Roadtrips

Where to Find the Northern Lights in Canada

A natural phenomenon with exquisite beauty, here’s how to find the northern lights in Canada.

Maggie Spizzirri
1 minute read

Seeing the northern lights in Canada is on many people’s bucket list and it is a sight not to be missed. The colours gliding across the sky is something indescribable and unlike anything else. But where and how do you track down this phenomenon?

Northern lights in Canada
Photograph by Daniel J Cox/Corbis

In Canada, the ‘Aurora Oval’ covers the majority of the country including the Northwest Territories, the Yukon, British Columbia, Northern Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. But what causes the light show? Electrons collide roughly 80 to 480 kilometres above the Earth’s surface. The result, Auroras guided by Earth’s magnetic field forms as two ovals centred approximately at the globe’s magnetic North and South Poles.

Tips for your best chances to see the Northern Lights:

  • Weather conditions: It’s best to see the Auroras on cold, clear nights when there isn’t a full moon.
  • What time of year is best for Northern Lights viewing: Late August to mid-April.
  • What is the best time to see the Aurora: Typically becomes visible around local midnight.
  • The best places in Canada to view the northern lights: Check out this amazing map from Canadian Geographic
  • Best chance during a trip: For your best chance of a viewing, stay for a while. Book a trip between 3-7 days long at a high latitude location.
  • Notifications: If you’re going on an Aurora hunt, many hotels offer wake up calls for Northern Lights viewings.

Some great resources for tracking the Northern Lights are NOAA’s Aurora – 30 Minute Forecast and NOAA’s Space Weather Enthusiasts Dashboard. For an easy application on your phone, check out the Aurora Forecast for iOS or Android.

Like a scavenger hunt with the best prize, hopefully, this increases your chance of seeing the Northern Light’s here in Canada!

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Last but not least, check out these articles for information on more bucket list trips:

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