20:57 Aurora Optimum
20:57 Aurora Optimum
20:56 Aurora Optimum
Please note the following:
All links below point to external providers of weather services. Please do not use this feature if this raises privacy concerns for you.
When you click a link below you will send your currently selected location to that provider. A link will open in a browser or in the own app of the provider (if supported and installed).
Links are sorted alphabetically and do not represent a preferred order.
In order to more easily judge the numbers they have been colored according to their relative activity level. The levels are:
Each level is based on the measured values according to the table below.
|Interaction wind speed & Bz||kilometers / second (km/s)
nano Tesla (nT)
|< −20||< −25|
|Intensity||protons / cm3 (pcc)|
|< 5||< 10||< 15||< 20||> 20|
|< 10||< 20||< 50||< 100||> 100|
|Daylight||Strong Twilight||Strong Moon||Weak Moon||Dark Sky|
Please select the correct timezone on the location tab. By doing so all times will be shown in the selected (local) timezone. When no selection is made UTC is used.
To more easily see what is happening right now, the current timeslot is highlighted in purple.
Abnormal arrival times are also marked in blue. This can happen if the solar wind increases in speed within a relatively short amount of time, causing it to overtake what has already passed the point of measurement.
A time marked in orange indicates not all measurements have arrived yet and the data is likely to still change.
Planetary K-index, providing an estimated level of magnetic disturbance. It is an indication of the potential for Aurora activity. The Kp-index comes from the standard 3-day NASA forecast.
Estimated time of arrival in Earth's atmosphere after measuring the solar wind characteristics. Measurement is done by satellites at 1.5 million km away from Earth towards the Sun (1% of the total Earth-Sun distance).
The speed at which the solar wind particles travel.
Orientation of the magnetic field inside the solar wind i the direction that it has the most interaction with Earth's magnetic field. When Bz is negative it is attracted to Earth's magnetic field, if it is positive it will repel. Greater attraction will allow easier entry of the solar wind into the upper atmosphere.
By calculating the angle and length of the By and Bz arm you get a better understanding of how well magnetic field inside the solar wind will be able to interact with Earth's magnetic field. A favorable angle (150° ... 210°) and long enough arm are favorable conditions.
Density of the solar wind. The amount of protons per cubic centimeter that have passed (protons ccm / pcc). The more particles the more interaction there will in the upper atmosphere and the brighter the Aurora's will become.
The amount of energy that the solar wind is leaving in the upper atmosphere. Depending on your location the amount for the Northern or Southern hemisphere is shown.
The amount of protons (*108) per cm2 per second that are passing.
With how much pressure is the solar wind pushing against Earth's magnetic field.
Location on Earth of the North and South pole as seen from space.
Oval shaped area around the Geomagnetic Pole where the Auroras can be seen.
The time when, at your current location, the Sun, the Geomagnetic Pole and you are standing in one line. At this moment the Auroral Oval stretches the furthest away from the poles.
Under low-activity circumstances the Auroral Oval can be seen overhead at Geomagnetic Midnight at a distance of roughly 2500km from the Geomagnetic Pole. The further away you position yourself the lower they will appear on the horizon.
Being able to estimate how dark the night sky will be at a certain time helps to assess the viewing potential. An example twilight transition: "Civil > Nautical".
Both the level of illumination (0% = new moon, 100% = full moon), the angle above/below the horizon as well as it's place in the sky should help with assessing it's influence on how much brighter the sky will be due to the moonlight.
Your biggest challenge...
When looking for Northern Lights there are three types of information you will need to be aware of and combine to increase your chances:
Learning to combine all three different information types will help you better understand how each type interacts with the others.
A forecast is an indication of what might happen but it has a high degree of inaccuracy. Think of longer-term weather or 27-day Kp forecasts. Most of these are based on sophisticated computer models and will be re-calculated a certain number of times per day. Each time the information that is being put into these models will be slightly different with possibly vastly different outcomes as a result.
This information comes from direct observations from a distance. Think of satellite images of the cloud cover or measurements of the current solar wind characteristics 1.5 million km away from Earth (provided by the ACE/DISCOVR satellites). The time it takes before the remotely observed information reaches you is relatively short and the chance of something changing drastically is limited. Making it more reliable than the forecasts.
Last but not least are your own observations in the field. Does the cloud cover match the forecast? In which direction are they moving and does this match your expectations from looking at satellite images? Does the Northern Lights activity match what you were expecting based on the Kp forecast or the nowcast information?
SpaceWeather.comUpdates daily and always has very interesting news items.
Wikipedia - SunGreat place to start reading about the source of it all.
Clear Outside7-day hourly cloud & weather forecasts. Designed by astronomers for astronomers.
StellariumFor figuring out which star is which.
Time&Date - MoonCheck the amount of moonlight ahead of time.
Topo GPSHigh quality topographic maps and navigation in the field.
The Photographer's EphemerisChecking and planning locations.
VentuskyGlobal weather maps, including cloud covers.
Windy.comGlobal weather maps, including cloud covers.
How Northern Lights are formedBy the University of Oslo.
NOAA.govBig thanks to NASA for making their satellite data and images available (HMIIC, 0193, ENLIL, Ovation).
Whether you are new or an Aurora expert, one thing is for sure: Northern Lights will never get off your bucket list! Once you experience their magic you will want to spend more nights outside in search of this spectacular ever changing phenomenon.
Preparation is everything in your search for Northern Lights.
See this app as the Swiss army knife for Northern Lights hunting. It tries to bundle as much relevant information as possible while keeping the interface compact and dark enough to use under extreme conditions. The last thing you want to do is take your gloves off at -40° in order to scroll back and forth through large amounts of data or lose your night vision by your screen lighting up like crazy.
The app is intended for anyone interested in catching a good display and serves beginners, experienced enthusiasts as well as professional guides.
The application is provided "as is" and no claims can be made in relation to using it or the information provided.
Please be aware of the environment you are in while searching for the Northern Lights. Nature can be both beautiful and relentless, especially in winter, so please tread carefully and do not take unnecessary risks!
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Because you can select your location manually you have full control over it's accuracy. Please keep in mind you do not have to be exact in setting your location. Anything within a 10km radius should work equally well.
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