University of Tromsø, Norway.
In spite of being a successor of the former Auroral Observatory and located at the same premises, Tromsø Geophysical Observatory does not carry out observations of the Northern Lights; the routine night-time photography of the sky was terminated as far back as 1987. The reason for this was twofold. Firstly, the scientific questions motivating global optical surveillance of the Northern Lights were on the whole settled, and secondly, the rapidly growing number of artificial light sources in the surrounding city made the Observatory unsuitable for optical observations. The scientific exploration of the Northern Lights and the upper atmosphere today takes place at Ramfjordmoen 20 km east of Tromsø. Here we find the large EISCAT radars and several other instruments.
The Northern Lights do, however, often attract public interest, and we receive numerous queries from tourists wanting to watch the phenomenon. We have therefore compiled a list of sources of information about the Northern Lights. It does not in any way pretend to be complete, but we believe most frequently asked questions about the Northern Lights can be resolved through the sources listed below.
To get the basic facts read our little note 'The Northern Lights - where, when and what' (also in Norwegian and German), or the somewhat more comprehensive article 'The Northern Lights - what are they?' ( Norwegian version as well).
Many institutions have web-sites and provide similar and often more extensive information. Here are a few of them:
To get predictions of Northern Lights, try one of the 'Space Weather' sites:
More about Northern Lights and a wealth of information about related topics are aslo found at these sites.
Several books about the Northern Lights have been published. Here are some titles:
Candage Sandage: 'Aurora, the mysterious Northern Lights'. Greystone Books, Vancouver/Toronto 1994. ISBN 1-55054-447-0
Asgeir Brekke and Alv Egeland: 'The Northern Lights: their heritage and science'. Grøndahl Dreyer, Oslo 1994. ISBN 82-504-2105-1
Robert Eather: 'Majestic Lights; the aurora in science, history and arts'. American Geophysical Union, Washington D.C. 1980. ISBN 0-87590-215-4
Kenneth R. Lang: 'Sun, Earth and Sky', Springer-Verlag 1995. ISBN 3-540-58778-0
We also recommend reading the story about Kristian Birkeland, a pioneer in Northern Lights research.
Lucy Jago: 'The Northern Lights', Hamish Hamilton, London 2001. ISBN 0-241-14092-7.
Do you plan to go to Norway to watch the Northern Lights? The tourist organisation 'Destination Tromsø' and 'Destination Alta' may help you arranging the travel.
Truls Lynne Hansen
Responsible editor: Chris Hall
Web & cgi programmer: Børre Heitmann Holmeslet
Last page update 2.Apr. 2014