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Aurora Forecast

Aurora Forecast

Don't miss the Northern Lights when in Svalbard!

Will we see the green beauty today?

Northern Lights Hunting is serious business

Just like your average traditional hunter, the Northern Lights Hunter comes equipped with their own “gun” and bag of tricks in order to find what they are hunting for. Armed with a camera tuned to perfection in order to catch the Northern Lights, a range of mobile apps tracking solar activity and cloud layers, and an obscene amount of heatpads to provide some relief from the Arctic temperatures, the hunter heads out into the wilderness hoping to see the “flying green dollar bills in the sky”.

Maybe you’re out hunting to see the Northern Lights for the very first time in your life, or maybe you’re part of the club of photographers chasing the lights in a Sisyphus-like fashion in order to finally get the perfect picture. In any case, there are certain tools that are equally useful for both types of people.

Where are those damn lights?

No matter the topic, nowadays you can rest assured that there’s an app for whatever it is you need, and these come by the hundreds if you try to search for “Northern Lights Forecast App” or something along those lines. And not all of these are reliable for all parts of the world.

To make your search easier for you, here’s the apps that we as locals of Svalbard recommend you to use for your Northern Lights. 

YR – Weather app
YR is a joint service by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute and Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. Even though there are Northern Lights shining above, you’ll have a hard time seeing them if there’s clouds in the way. This app is our best recommendation for checking the local weather conditions, so have a look here when deciding which date you want to book a Northern Lights hunt with one of our local activity providers. The app is available for download on both Android and Apple devices.
Android
Apple

Aurora Forecast 3D – Northern Lights Activity Tracker
Released by Professor Fred Sigernes with the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS), this app is without doubt your go-to app for checking the Northern Lights activity and forecast here in Svalbard. The app is available for download on both Android and Apple devices.
Android
Apple

Norway Lights – Daily Northern Lights updates
If you are more of the spontaneous type, then the daily recommendations given in the NorwayLights app may be what you are looking for. In the screen below you can see the recommendation of the day for Longyearbyen, where you will find one of three recommendations:
GO – Why are you spending time reading this? Go and book a tour now, there’s a good chance that you may see the Northern Lights today!
TRY – There may or may not be good conditions for seeing the lights today, but for the optimist this is a good enough reason to head out and give it a shot.
WAIT – Maybe try your luck tomorrow? Go relax in a local café or go shopping for a while. Check the forecast throughout the day to see if conditions may improve.

Our advice for your hunt

Svalbard is a beautiful but potentially dangerous place. Due to the polar bears that roam the archipelago we highly recommend you to go with an organised Northern Lights hunting group in order to have a safe and enjoyable experience. Then you will be accompanied by a local guide who knows their stuff, who has the correct safety equipment in case of a polar bear encounter, and who can give you some pointers to get the most of your Northern Lights hunt. An additional plus is that with a guide you’ll be able to head away from the city lights in Longyearbyen, making it easier to spot the fainter Northern Lights above.

But even if you’re more of a city dweller who’s keen on staying in town at one of the hotels or guesthouses you’re not without guidance. Check with the receptionist where you’re staying about whether there’s Northern Lights outside at the moment, or where in town you should go to see them as clearly as possible without having to bring along safety equipment in case of a polar bear encounter.

And as a last piece of advice.
Heatpads for your hands (or feet) are life savers when waiting around outside for the Northern Lights. You’ll find heatpads for sale at the various sports shops around town.

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