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Auroral Activity Rising

A glimpse of the northern lights, the Aurora Borealis, has been a relatively rare treat in Finland over the past few years, except in Lapland. That is changing now as auroral activity has been on the rise this autumn.

Image: Jukka-Pekka Räsänen

Statistics show that for Finns northern lights are most commonly observed in the far north-western part of Lapland. However, even in Helsinki, the colours in the sky can be seen on average once a month. Activity has been low in recent years.

"The years 2006-2009 were a very quiet period. But this year more activity has been evident. It has clearly been on the rise," says Noora Partamies, a researcher at the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

The Institute maintains a network of cameras to record the phenomenon of the northern lights, comprised of eight observation stations in Fenno-Scandinavia and Spitzbergen.

Auroral activity follows the 11-year cycle of sunspot activity. Although it is not yet easy to predict the frequency of the appearance of the northern lights this winter, Meteorological Institute experts are optimistic about seeing more.

"We can't make a detailed forecast for the coming winter. But the sun's activity is on the rise and auroral activity as well has shown clear signs of increasing this year," Partamies explains.