Watch nature's own theatre unfold above you as the most spectacular light show takes centre stage: The northern lights with you in the front row.

Seeing the northern lights, or the aurora borealis, as they are also known, is a jaw-dropping and mystical moment.

Theoretically, you can see the northern lights all over Norway. However, the best places are above the Arctic Circle in Northern Norway.

The northern lights belt hits Northern Norway in the Lofoten Islands, and follows the coast all the way up to the North Cape. This means that no other place on earth offers better chances of spotting the lights, and one location in this area might be as good as another. In fact, one often observes the same northern lights in the Lofoten as in Tromsø, just from a different angle. The driest weather, giving clear skies, is found inland, statistically providing the best chances, but with strong eastern winds, the coast can be clearer than inland areas.

Perhaps not so surprisingly, the northern lights' spectacle has given rise to as many legends as there have been people watching. Symbols linked to the northern lights are found on the Sami shamanistic drum. The phenomenon has several different names in Sami. It is, for instance, known as Guovssahas, which means "the light which can be heard". The northern lights were traditionally associated with sound by the Sami, the indigenous people of Norway. And during the Viking Age, the northern lights were said to be the armour of the Valkyrie warrior virgins, shedding a strange flickering light.

Reality, if not as poetic, is equally impressive. It is the sun that lies behind the formation of the auroras. During large solar explosions and flares, huge quantities of particles are thrown out of the sun and into deep space.

When the particles meet the Earth's magnetic shield, they are led towards a circle around the magnetic North Pole, where they interact with the upper layers of the atmosphere. The energy which is then released is the northern lights. All this happens approximatelty 100 kilometres above our heads.

A red aurora shimmers over Mo i Rana in Nordland, Norway
The northern lights turn the sky green at Hamary in Nordland, Norway
Picture: Tommy Eliassen

The northern lights, the Milky Way and several shooting stars are seen in the night sky at Ifjord in Finnmark, Norway
Picture: Tommy Eliassen

Star trails and the northern lights at Aldersundet in Nordland, Norway
Picture: Tommy Eliassen

A tree is silhouetted against a turquoise sky at Mo i Rana
Picture: Tommy Eliassen

Picture: Tommy Eliassen

The northern lights, stars and the moon are reflected in icy water at Aldersundet In Nordland, Norway
Picture: Tommy Eliassen

A green aurora swirls across the night sky in Nord-Trøndelag, NorwayPicture: Tommy Eliassen

A pink aurora dances in the sky at Rana in Nordland, Norway
Picture: Tommy Eliassen

A dramatic display is reflected in water at Ifjord in FinnmarkPicture: Tommy Eliassen

The Northern Lights turn the sky green and red at Mo i RanaPicture: Tommy Eliassen

A green and blue aurora is seen in the night sky over Flostrand in Nordland, NorwayPicture: Tommy Eliassen

A spectacular green sky is reflected in water at Ifjord in Finnmark, NorwayPicture: Tommy Eliassen

A multicoloured aurora shimmers over Mo i Rana in Nordland, NorwayPicture: Tommy Eliassen

Responses to "Spectacular displays of the northern lights or aurora borealis in northern Norway"

  1. Sandy says:

    These are beautiful; now I know what my great grandfather could have seen from Norway (Just found out that is where he was born).

  2. Anonymous says:

    I love the reach up! Thanks so much for view and myth ..!

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