The green aurora hypnotize above Canada's Northwest Territories

The Aurora flares up when charged particles from the the sun interact with the Earth's outer atmosphere. The colours of the Aurora vary based on what layer of the atmosphere is being "excited." The most common colour is an eerie green glow. Those Aurora are caused by the excitement of oxygen atoms about 120 kilometres above the Earth's surface.

61 c6303353-a966-4975-a2d0-e61f4f12d93f
The Northern Lights above Aurora Village's teepee accommodations outside of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada

In the central Northwest Territories, the Aurora is visible for an average of 200 nights per year. That's nearly every single night of the late summer, autumn, winter and early spring.

Why is it so frequent here? Because the Northwest Territories enjoys crystal-clear skies, ultra-low humidity, and its perfect location beneath the band of maximal Auroral activity – the so-called "Auroral oval."

63 e873c408-36fc-4136-97bd-052159032525
The magic and wonder of the Northern Lights in Canada's Northwest Territories

It’s Canada's wildest lightshow.

Late at night. Far from town. Up at the top of the world. Up in the canvas of the sky. The heavens burst into colour with the most spectacular Northern Lights on Earth, and do a glorious dance.

All for you.

Here are 7 little-known reasons why the Aurora of the Northwest Territories is a wonder to behold.

66 047be668-9ced-42d5-aaba-9d7dbc593c3c
Purple aurora are less common than green, but still quite a regular sight above Canada's Northwest Territories

Sometimes, the Aurora blazes bright violet or crimson. This occurs during Auroral "storms," when charged solar particles penetrate closer to Earth, exciting molecular nitrogen at altitudes as low as 80 kilometres overhead.

33 e6a58d00-8934-4b7c-8166-f494589cc36b
The dance of the Northern Lights above Pine Lane in the South Slave Region of Canada's Northwest Territories near Fort Smith and Wood Buffalo National Park.

These Auroral storms are intense. During especially vivid lightshows, scientists have measured the energy in the Aurora to be as much as 20 million amperes at 50,000 volts. By comparison, home circuit breakers are typically tripped by currents over 15-30 amperes at 120 volts.

44 e52b11ef-6abd-4420-abca-efc44b9f28b2
The winds of the cosmos on display with the dance of the Northern Lights above Canada's Northwest Territories

Auroral storms happen when the sun ejects charged particles in a blast of "solar wind." These winds hurtle toward Earth at up to 3 million kilometres per hour, bombarding our magnetosphere and sending the Northern Lights into a frenzied dance.

41 bbc3b49b-e650-4cce-b8b3-fc05861ccde8
Cosmic storms show in the Northern Lights above Canada's Northwest Territories.

These blasts of solar wind hit the Earth about 1,500 times per year – several times per day, on average. The bigger the blast, the more vivid the Aurora.

29 2408b0a2-03c2-42a0-9406-a19891bdec65
Go play under the aurora in Canada's Northwest Territories

For as long as humans have craned their necks to watch the Aurora, they’ve also bent their ears to hear them. Lots of people swear the lights hiss and crackle. But for a long time, researchers said they were hearing things. Scientifically speaking, the “noisy Aurora” theory seems mad. After all, the lightshow happens in the soundless void of space. But a few years ago, a scientist placed low-frequency microphones beneath a magnetic storm and captured a “weird surging hiss.”

Want to learn more about the marvellous Auroras of the Northwest Territories? Check out our Aurora tours and Northern Lights lodges.

104 39647039-2cd7-4904-b6e8-98607d5e41cc
7 remarkable reasons why the Northwest Territories has the finest Auroras on Earth 14 7743fbff-3aa0-4740-bbcc-7a17a9c623ce

Get our Free Explorers' Guide

Is the Northwest Territories on your must-see list? Order or download our free Explorers' Guide to plan your trip of a lifetime.