Viewing the Aurora in the Summer

Viewing the Aurora in the Northern Summer

During the northern summer, sunlight prevents viewing the aurora at high northern latitudes. As the sun climbs in the sky until June 21st and then descends, the nights are too bright to see the aurora. Because the magnetic pole is displaced toward North America, the auroral zone shown on our maps is at low enough latitudes to be seen even in the summer. Here are the rules of thumb for auroral viewing based on your latitude.

North of 70°

North of 70 degrees latitude, aurora viewing is very limited April15 through August 25.

North of 65°

North of 65 degrees latitude, aurora viewing is very limited May 1 through August 10. The auroral index should be 2 or more to see it south of this latitude.

North of 60°

North of 60 degrees latitude, aurora viewing is very limited May 15 through August 1. The auroral index should be 3 or more to see it south of this latitude.

North of 55°

North of 55 degrees latitude, aurora viewing is very limited June 10 through July 1. The auroral index should be 4 or more to see it south of this latitude.

South of 55°

South of 55 degrees latitude, the aurora should be visible to observers in Canada and the northern US all summer if the auroral index is 4 or more.

Viewing the Aurora in the Southern Summer

During the southern summer, sunlight prevents viewing the aurora at high southern latitudes. As the sun climbs in the sky until December 21 and then descends, the nights are too bright to see the aurora. Because the southern magnetic pole is displaced toward Australia and New Zealand, the auroral zone shown on our maps is at low enough latitudes to be seen from there even in the summer for the auroral index values greater than 3. The other main population area is the Antarctic Peninsula where the index must be greater than 6 to view the aurora. Here are the rules of thumb for auroral viewing based on your latitude in the Southern Hemisphere.

South of 70°

South of 70 degrees latitude, aurora viewing is very limited October 9 through February 26.

South of 65°

South of 65 degrees latitude, aurora viewing is very limited October 31 through February 10. This includes most of the Antarctic continent, with the exception of the Antarctic Peninsula, where the auroral index must be above 6 to view the aurora at any time.

South of 60°

South of 60 degrees latitude, aurora viewing is very limited November 14 through January 27. The auroral index should be 4 or more to see it north of this latitude in the Australia-New Zealand sector, and greater than 6 in the Antarctic Peninsula sector.

South of 55°

South of 55 degrees latitude, aurora viewing is very limited December 10 through January 1. The auroral index should be 4 or more to see it north of this latitude in the New Zealand-Australian sector, and greater than 6 in the Antarctic Peninsula sector.

North of 55°

North of 55 degrees latitude, the aurora should be visible to observers in the Tasmania and southern New Zealand sector all summer if the auroral index is more than 4. In the Tierra del Fuego-Antarctic Peninsula sector, only the highest activity indices (7 to 9) are necessary to see the aurora at any time.