Service to Auroral Tourism

Welcome to the Service to auroral tourism sector service


Auroras are a beautiful and harmless manifestation of space weather processes. Eruptions on the solar surface can occasionally cause rapid variations in the near-Earth space environment, which are associated with bright auroras appearing at high latitudes and in extreme cases also at middle and low latitudes. Large-scale solar events, such as coronal holes, flares and coronal mass ejections are responsible for the most intense geomagnetic disturbances in the Earth's space environment. Deflections in the geomagnetic field are caused by changing electric currents in the upper atmosphere, which then result in beautiful auroral displays. The Regional Auroral Forecast service (RAF) follows continuously solar activity and variations in the geomagnetic field and can help you decide when it is a good time to put on something warm and go outside to a place with a nice view towards the Northern horizon.

Auroral light is generated in the upper parts of our atmosphere with a similar mechanism as the illumination by neon lights: in dilute gas, electrons collide with heavier atoms or molecules and as a consequence the atoms are excited. When the atoms return from the excited state back to their normal state the extra energy is released as light. In the hunt for auroras it is important to be patient and wait until your eyes get adjusted to the darkness. It is good to know that the human eye observes auroras in a different way than cameras. Our eyes see dim auroras as white or grey structures, while cameras with long enough exposure times show the same auroras as green, red or purple. With bright auroras this problem does not exist. Instead the challenge is to be in the correct place at the correct moment. Unfortunately the most beautiful sightings are often quite short-lived, so instead of going in to wake up your friends, be selfish and enjoy the show.

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Products and Alerts


Interplanetary medium at L1
Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF)
Solar Wind Bulk Velocity
Solar Wind Bulk Density
Earth atmosphere and geomagnetic environment
Auroral Visible Imaging
Local External Magnetic Field on Ground
Local Geomagnetic Induced Geoelectric Field


User Manual

The most beautiful manifestation of space weather is the aurora. Several products available here are tailored for the auroral tourism sector and these are grouped under Auroral Visible Imaging:

  • The Aurora forecast service (Regional Aurora Forecast, RAF) by the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI). This product shows a map with the estimated location of the auroral oval and, as supporting information cloudiness predictions. The product also contains features such as a set of three “lamps” which turn to red in the cases where the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued alerts of enhanced Kp values or on solar flares during the recent 2-3 days.
  • Auroral images (Scotland) by the British Geological Survey (BGS). The product provides auroral images for northern UK (Eskdalemuir and Lerwick observatories) during the winter season.
  • The Auroral data from Kiruna by the Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF), containing optical auroral data for northern Sweden during the winter season.
  • Aurora nowcast for Greenland by the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). The product contains a map that show the latest estimated position of the polar ionospheric electrojet, and thus the auroral oval in the north.



❗Warning: The BGS Auroral images (Lerwick) [G.166] are currently unavailable due to technical issues. For further information please contact the helpdesk.

Auroral data from Kiruna

Full product
Provided by: Swedish Institute of Space Physics

DTU Aurora

Full product
Provided by: DTU Space

Auroral images (Scotland)

Full product
Provided by: British Geological Survey