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What is aurora or northern lights?



About Northern Lights

What is aurora borealis - northern lights?

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, Borealis, 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 aurora 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 equinoxes. 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 as a sign from God.


When is the best time to see northern lights - aurora borealis?

Yellowknife is one of the best places to see northern lights (aurora borealis) from mid of August until end of April to experience ultimate aurora borealis thrill. Summer time isn't a good time to see aurora borealis in Yellowknife due to 24 hours day light pollution from the sun that makes it difficult to see aurora activity. Yellowknife nights return around mid August making it ideal conditions to see northern lights activity.


What if I don't get to see northern lights on tour, do i get refund?

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. Statistics for Yellowknife have proven that out of three nights your chances of seeing aurora is increased by over 90% chances. Meaning that at least one night of 3 nights you can get to experience this natural phenomenon.


What is the difference between aurora hunting and 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 tour you visit several viewing places that includes, Territorial parks, lakes, ice roads and secluded wilderness per night and night itinerary is determined by driver/guide or customized to clients satisfaction.


Is the aurora forecast accurate?

First we have to understand how aurora forecast works. Aurora forecast is scientific measurement in Kp index 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 on the tour.


Where do you take me for aurora tours?

Our aurora hunting tours takes you multiple viewing places, so you don't have to worry about waiting for aurora at one place through out your itinerary.


How do I book aurora tours and day tours?

To book any of our tours simply book online from our website, by phone, WeChat, WhatsApp, Facebook and through email Feel free to contact us for any booking assistance. 


About Tours




Who is going to pick me up from the airport?

Our guide will pick you up at the airport. Upon arrival at the airport please look for our staff holding welcome sign with our company name and logo. If you cannot locate your guide, please use direct access phone from visitors information booth located inside Yellowknife airport next to security desk and "Dial 27," our reservations team will be happy to assist you.


What time does aurora starts?

Our aurora tours pick up times varies depending with the season and month August pick times starts at 11:00pm. September, October, March and April pick up times starts at 10:00pm. November, December, January and February pick times starts at 9:00pm.


What time do I have to arrive in Yellowknife to make it for aurora tour?

We recommend booking flight that arrive before 7:00pm even earlier in winter season where flights to Yellowknife are frequently delayed or cancelled due to weather.


How long is aurora tour?

Aurora tours are four hours. In some occasions we go little beyond four hours when aurora is very active or when the aurora hunter is far away from the city.


Do you provide winter clothing rental?

Yes, winter gear is available as add-on option. Winter gear rental is provided on first come first save basis for customers booked on our tours only. We recommend reserving winter clothing prior to your trip as winter clothing quickly get sold out during colder winter months.


How many people in group?

Small group tour 2 - 13 participants and Medium sized group tour 14 - 24 participants. Maximum number on each tour it all depends on bookings for each particular day.


Do I get refund if my flight is cancelled or delayed?

Unfortunately, no refunds for missed tour due to flight delay or cancellations. We recommend purchase of travel insurance that covers tours and activities in the event that flight get cancelled or delayed.


Can I request language translator on my tour?

Absolutely, most of our guides are multi-lingual. We will try our best best to accommodate you on tour with guide who speaks language you have request. Please note minimum number of participants is required for tours guided in any other language other than English. Other tour guided languages are limited to Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Spanish.


Do you have guide who can help me adjust my camera?

All our tour guides are professionally trained to operate and take pictures with DSLR camera. On the tour our guide will assist you to set the best camera and tripod settings to capture aurora images.


What kind of vehicles do you use?

Our vehicle fleet we use include 7 passenger van, 15 passenger vans, 20 passenger minibus and 25 passenger coach.


Can I bring my pet with me?

Unfortunately no pets allowed on our tours due to allergies, health and safety for other guest. However, guide dogs are maybe accepted on private tour. Upon booking notify the booking agent for private tour booking with service dog. Private tour rate apply to private tours.

Welcome Arctic Tours
Yellowknife Airport Information board. Dial 27 to connect with Arctic Tours Canada staff.
Yellowknife northern lights holiday hotel packages
Aurora hunting
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