In the sky over Greenland you can sometimes see a very special phenomenon, the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis). The beautiful flickering curtains of green, yellow, red and white light swirl and dazzle. You can't help but be overwhelmed by the fleeting experience when the Northern Lights dance in the sky.
Myths and Superstitions
The Scientific Explanation
In Latin the Northern Lights are called "Aurora Borealis". The Northern Lights occur when the Sun’s electrically charged particles collide with molecules and atoms in the Earth’s atmosphere. This meeting results in the incredible phenomenon in which curtains of different colours flutter across the sky. Attracted to the magnetic poles, the particles produce dazzling curtains of Auroral light when they collide with oxygen and nitrogen atoms: North Pole = Northern Lights / Aurora Borealis and South Pole = Southern Lights / Aurora Australis.
It is strongest and most frequent in connection with magnetic storms on the Sun.
It takes patience to hunt for Northern Lights, as clear skies are not always enough. There are many variables and the strength also depends on solar storms and other factors.
When is the Ideal Season to see the Northern Lights?
Where is the Best Place to View the Northern Lights?
You can observe the Northern Lights throughout Greenland, but the further north you travel, the better. Kangerlussuaq is one of the best places in the world to see them due to relatively stable weather offering a clear sky. Most visitors to Greenland travel via Kangerlussuaq, so this is a great opportunity to join a Northern Lights spotting excursion.
Near Kangerlussuaq there is also an American scientific station, "Kellyville", which researches the Northern Lights.
As mentioned, the Northern Lights can only be seen on dark and clear evenings, and it is highly recommended that you avoid any kind of artificial light pollution. If you head outside town, the northern lights will look more vivid in a dark sky.