Nature of the north

The Northern Lights

Sodankylä is an ideal place to watch and photograph the Northern Lights: the nature is unspoilt and there is little light pollution.

The fire fox makes the Northern Lights happen

The Finnish word for the Northern Lights, revontuli (“fox fire”), refers to a fox. According to the ancient belief recorded by Topelius, the Northern Lights appear when the fire fox runs across the fell and whips the snowdrift with its tail so hard that sparks appear in the sky.

The large municipality of Sodankylä is, for the most part, free of light pollution. Even in the town centre there is so little light pollution that you can even see the Northern Lights there. The best spots in which to watch the Northern Lights within walking distance of the town centre are the Kemijärventie bridge and the Pappilanniemi riverside walk, which are ploughed of snow.

Did you know? Contrary to popular belief, hard frosts do not cause the Northern Lights. However, when the temperatures are very cold the sky is often cloudless, which makes seeing the Northern Lights easier.

Powerful instances of the Northern Lights can even produce audible sounds such as murmurs and bangs. This show of light and sound is an unbelievable experience in the otherwise dim and silent Lapland nature. 

The Northern Lights can appear and disappear in seconds, but normally their dance lasts a few minutes, even hours, sometimes weakening and sometimes strengthening. The Finnish Meteorological Institute’s website has a Northern Lights forecast which you can follow. If the forecast is good and it’s a beautiful Northern Lights photograph you’re after, try heading for the Lokka dam: there you can photograph the fires of the sky dancing above the lake and the Nattanen fells.

At the start of the winter, before the snow, good Northern Lights photography spots include the Ilmakkiaapa birdwatching tower, the Siurunmaa birdwatching tower and the viewing tower along Paavo’s Path.

While visiting Luosto you have access to Aurora Alert Realtime northern lights alarm system, free of charge!

Remember to park your car safely and out of the way of other traffic when you watch and photograph the Northern Lights, or the nature of Lapland in general! Thank you.

Did you know, that you can learn more about northern lights in Sodankylä all year round? See more details about Arctic Academy.

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