Summer auroras: first of the season
The first auroras of the 2019-2020 are about to show their best colors again.
As we are getting further away in time from the summer solstice, the northern Norwegian days are progressively getting shorter. As for now, the midnight sun has just come to an end and our Star does dip below the horizon, however for a very short time and quite shallow still. We generally have to wait until the 25thof August for the twilight to be dark enough to see the long-awaited aurora borealis in our arctic skies again. Even then, the Sun’s curve below the horizon is still not very deep, leaving quite a bright twilight all night.
However at this time of the year, the changes happen extremely fast. Believe it or not, by the beginning of September (when the cover picture was taken), the real ‘nighttime’ is already back for a couple hours. In that 2-week period, the first auroras, namely called ‘Summer Auroras’- can be witnessed. Because the sky is still bright blue, the color of the aurora tends to shift from yellow green and red to emerald green and purple.
Some local folk celebrate the return of darkness and the aurora. It’s actually an excellent time to gaze and photograph this natural phenomenon up here on Senja. The weather is usually very lenient and lukewarm, and nights tend to be dry and clear. In turn, it leaves a pristine starry background, in which many shooting stars can be seen. It goes without saying that it is also the best time of the year to observe the milky way at these latitudes. The core can never be seen, but at 69 degrees North, you can see down to the Eagle and Shield constellation. Cygnus is also still quite high in the sky, and the brightest part of the milky way appears almost upright in the southwest-west. As things goes, the aurora at the start of the night tends to remain in the north and describe an arch, so it really is a privileged time to make out both the aurora and our home galaxy side by side, as the picture below suggests.
At the very start of the aurora season around the 24th-25thof August, there is also a very short window for noctilucent clouds. Those spectacular night shining clouds can be seen in the blue twilight arch shining an electric silver color. It can also be accompanied by the aurora, and you generally won’t miss them because they’re shining while other lower clouds are dark. They’re made of very tiny ice particles at 80km above our heads still reflecting the sunlight while other tropospheric clouds are in the shadow of the Earth.
In this period, the days are still quite long, which allow you to take on multiple hikes in one day if you have the energy. They will take you along gorgeous waterfalls, mountaintops and forests filled with delicious wild berries or mushrooms. In early September you won’t get the yellow and orange colors yet as trees still have green leaves, but the temperatures usually are very fair, and you most likely won’t get snow. Wether you decide to hike during the day or the night, this season is also the best time to get water reflection. You will get lots of clear and still nights without wind. This will allow the many water bodies of the island to mirror the sky perfectly. We have many rivers, lakes and ponds with very nice subjects to shoot, like barges, cabins or tree lines. Since there is no snow, you can generally access all the remote mountain tops and lakes with a gorgeous view on the fjords of Senja and shoot or enjoy the aurora from there.
If you haven’t booked with us yet, why not reserve a last-minute stay with us to experience the first aurora of the season? We hope to see you there!
Book you summer auroras, first of the season experience HERE