Cloudy with a 14% chance of Aurora

I’ve been keeping an eye on the aurora activity since before we left home…. I downloaded the app and put a few met websites in the favourites for easy access…. and up until now the activity has been pretty low, coupled with the thick cloud blanketing the sky – it’s made seeing the northern lights impossible – until tonight!!!!

Don’t get too excited though.

We were picked up by our tour guide and the only other guest on the tour – Cowry from Japan.  As I mentioned we were meant to go out on a river cruise tonight to hopefully spot the lights, but because of rough waters (?) he switched the tour over to the car – which we were happy with because by the time he picked us up it was raining!  Not a good start.

Optimal conditions to see the lights need a clear dark sky and a good – high KP (I know ALL the lingo now)  As we’re well above the Arctic Circle, we only need a 2 KP or more to have a chance of seeing anything…. Tonight’s KP is 4.6 – so chances are good if we can find a bit of clear sky.

So, drove north – almost to Norway to find a bit of clear sky.  Our guide had a colleague with another group who called to say that he had found a clear patch and was seeing some amazing auroras, so we screeched to a halt and raced back to near where his partner was… by the time we got there (10kms away) the hole in the clouds had closed over, but we waited it out for a bit and this is what we saw…..

aurora_on_a_cloudy_night_by_solace_grace-d4g798o

…. except I want you to imagine more clouds, also the clouds were light grey rather than this dark colour and instead of blue light, picture it white and instead of it being that clear, think about something not so bright…..  and that’s sort of what we saw.

We definitely saw something, but it wasn’t what we were expecting or hoping for.

The clouds parted every now and then but when they did and we could see stars, the aurora weren’t there, and then they’d appear and the clouds would close over – it was like the clouds were playing defence!

Our guide tried his darndest, driving and stopping, getting out to check, then back in again and driving further down the road.  Then it started to rain again and were happy to head home.

Still a few more opporchancities to go.
fingers-cross-zoom

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