Frequently Asked Questions
What is aurora borealis?
Aurora borealis is a natural light display in the sky particularly in the high latitude (Arctic and Antarctic) regions, caused by the collision of energetic charged particles with atoms in the high altitude atmosphere (thermosphere).
In northern latitudes, the effect is known as the aurora borealis (or the northern lights), named after the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora, and the Greek name for the north wind, Boreas, by Pierre Gassendi in 1621. Auroras seen near the magnetic pole may be high overhead, but from farther away, they illuminate the northern horizon as a greenish glow or sometimes a faint red, as if the Sun were rising from an unusual direction.
Discrete aurorae often display magnetic field lines or curtain-like structures, and can change within seconds or glow unchanging for hours, most often in fluorescent green. The aurora borealis most often occurs near the equinoctes. The northern lights have had a number of names throughout history. The Cree call this phenomenon the “Dance of the Spirits”. In Europe, in the Middle Ages, the auroras were commonly believed a sign from God.
What is the best time to see northern lights?
Yellowknife is one of the best places to view the northern lights from beginning of August until mid April is the best time to experience ultimate aurora borealis thrill.
What if i don't see northern lights on your tour?
We hope all clients get to experience this natural phenomenon; however, since aurora is a natural occurrence that can't be guaranteed for increased chances to see aurora we recommend to book at least 3 nights.
What is the difference between aurora hunting and aurora viewing?
Aurora viewing is held at single place for the entire tour the viewing places ranges from cabin, lodge or tee-pee tents. On aurora hunting you visit several viewing places per night and night itinerary is determined by driver/guide or customized to clients satisfaction.
When is the best time to watch for northern lights display?
Winter in the north is generally a good season to view lights. The long periods of darkness and the frequency of clear nights provide many good opportunities to watch the northern lights display. Also, Fall season from early August until mid October have proved over the years to be one of the best time to view northern lights from Yellowknife. In Yellowknife the best time to experience aurora display in fall season is anytime from 10pm and winter season anytime from 9pm. The time difference is mainly caused by daylight savings time.
Is the aurora forecast accurate?
First we have to understand how aurora forecast works. Aurora forecast is scientific measurement in Kp number system for aurora strength. It goes from 0 to 9, 0 being very weak and 9 being a major geomagnetic storm with strong aurora.
So when you're looking at the aurora forecast page, you want to see high Kp numbers. The higher the better. Anything above Kp4 is classed as a geomagnetic storm.
Aurora forecast will only give you guidance of aurora activity. To get the most accurate reading in addition to forecast reading, several factors have to be considered that includes in simple weather and clouds movement. A good aurora hunter like us will be able to compute all that information for you for better aurora prediction of the tour.
Can i use my phone to take northern lights?
With technology moving faster than before, some phones have capabilities of taking pictures of aurora borealis; however, the picture quality haven't reached perfectionism compared to using commonly used DLSR cameras.
Do i have to buy special kind of camera to take northern lights pictures?
For beginner photographers a camera with high ISO is recommended for better picture quality. However, for just experience we you don't have to worry. At the end of our aurora tours we email you complimentary tours pictures upon request.
Where do you take us for aurora tours?
Our aurora tours takes you multiple viewing places, so you don't have to worry about waiting for aurora at one place through out your itinerary. The viewing
How many people per tour?
Can I add additional viewing time?
It is possible to add additional time. Check with your guide before the end of tour. Additional charges will apply.
What will be my pick-up time for aurora tours?
Pick up times varies from one hotel to the the next. Our usual pick-up times start at 9pm and sometimes flexible.
Can i bring my dog with me?
Guide dogs are accepted; however, due to allergies private tour might be an option. Upon booking notify the agent if accompanied by pets.
Do you provide winter gear?
Winter gear is available as add-on option. Some of our winter gear rental clothing are available through our tour operator partners that includes My Backyard Tours.