Home Blog Why Solar Cycle 25 is Good News for Aurora Hunters

Why Solar Cycle 25 is Good News for Aurora Hunters

Monday, 15th January 2024

Pam Forrest

iceland spectacular aurora istk

The northern lights hit the news regularly in 2023, particularly in picture feeds, as extraordinarily strong auroras resulted in these enigmatic lights being seen across the UK even in summer – which is usually the ‘off season’ for the northern lights. Inside the Arctic Circle, the same solar winds sparked one of the earliest aurora displays for over 17 years, with shimmering ribbons of green bright enough to be seen over the orange glow of late summer.

Although seeing the northern lights at so early or at such low latitudes is uncommon, the intensity of the solar activity in 2023 suggests the forthcoming peak of Solar Cycle 25 really is worth getting exciting about. If you’ve dreamed of witnessing nature’s own light show, now is time to arrange your aurora holiday.

Icelandic aurora expert, Saevar Bragason explains why.

What is Solar Cycle 25?

Our star goes through an 11-year activity cycle. Solar Cycle 25 (SC25) is simply the 25th cycle humans have recorded. During SC25, the number of sunspots or active regions on the sun increases until it reaches the maximum, after which the activity diminishes. SC25 started in 2019 and is expected to peak in 2024/25.

swedish lapland couple watching aurora borealis istk

Why is it important for aurora hunters?

When the sun’s activity increases, the chances of geomagnetic or aurora storms increase as well. The sun will be pockmarked with large sunspots which can lead to powerful coronal mass ejections. These spots are usually largest and most numerous around the maximum. If the coronal mass ejections are directed towards Earth, we will experience wonderful and unforgettable, colourful and dynamic aurora displays.

Can we expect this winter to be stronger and more active?

Yes, the activity is picking up, resulting in more sunspots where powerful flares and ejections can occur. So, we can expect to have more explosions on the sun and more dynamic and colourful auroras over the next few years.

red aurora borealis seen over lapland istk

Tell us about your most memorable recent northern lights experience?

We had some brilliant, beautiful shows last winter, which we watched from the observatory at Hotel Rangá in southwest Iceland. The most memorable display occurred on 28 February 2023 when there was also a gorgeous Venus-Jupiter conjunction in the evening sky. The aurora became so bright that the ground literally turned green. The lights shook the sky with fantastic recurring aurora coronas and fast-moving pink ribbons. You should have heard the gasps and seen the looks on peoples’ faces that night!

Plan Your Adventure

It’s impossible to predict exactly when the aurora will appear. However, at Discover the World we’ve spent four decades refining the art of the aurora adventure. From Finland to Norway, Sweden to Iceland as well as north America, we have discovered the best places to see this incredible phenomenon.

Get in touch with our Travel Specialists for personal insight and to discuss the best option for you. Call on 01737 214 250 or make an enquiry.