When can I see an aurora?

The aurora can be seen best at magnetic midnight which only occurs when the magnetic pole, the observer and the Sun are all aligned.  It is best to view these displays in winter because nights tend to be clearer and the hours of darkness are longer.

Large magnetic storms mean that the aurorae can be seen at lower latitudes and these are most common during the solar maximum, which is the peak of the eleven-year sunspot cycle, and for three years after that peak.

Magnetic storms also happen more often during the months around an equinox. An equinox occurs in March and September, when day and night are of equal length.

In most cases the Northern and Southern Lights are mirror images of each other that occur at the same time and have similar colours and shapes.