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FAQ

Aurora is a luminous glow of the upper atmosphere caused by energetic particles entering the atmosphere from above.
This definition differentiates aurora from other forms of airglow, and from sky brightness that is due to reflected or scattered sunlight. Airglow features that have "internal" energy sources are more common than aurora. For example, lightening and all associated optical emissions like sprites should not be considered aurora.

On Earth, the energetic particles that make aurora come from the geospace environment, the magnetosphere. These energetic particles are mostly electrons, but protons also make aurora. The electrons travel along magnetic field lines. The Earth's magnetic field looks like that of a dipole magnet where the field lines are coming out and going into the Earth near the poles. The auroral electrons are thus guided to the high latitude atmosphere near each pole. As the electrons penetrate into the upper atmosphere, the chance of colliding with an atom or molecule increases the deeper they go. Once a collision takes place, the atom or molecule takes some of the energy of the energetic particle and stores it as internal energy while the electron goes on at a reduced speed. The process of storing energy in a molecule or atom is called "exciting" the atom. An excited atom or molecule can return to the non-excited state (ground state) by sending off or emitting a photon, i.e. by making light.

If you are planing to join the Aurora Viewing Tour, we recommend to arrive at the Whitehorse Airport before 8pm, then you have enough time to prepare for the tour.

Statistically, springtime (March/April) and autumn (September/October) contain the most "geomagnetically disturbed days" which means more aurora activity...although you're bound to see the lights in October, November, December, January and February if you spend enough time looking up.

In Yukon, it's dark enough to see the northern lights from about August-through-April. During May, June & July it's just too bright in to see them in the "Land of the Midnight Sun."

Three Day - Aurora Weather Forecast

Whitehorse (Canada)

Rental Clothing

Yukon Climate

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 10.0
(50)
11.7
(53.1)
16.8
(62.2)
21.8
(71.2)
34.1
(93.4)
34.4
(93.9)
33.2
(91.8)
31.6
(88.9)
26.7
(80.1)
19.3
(66.7)
13.3
(55.9)
10.6
(51.1)
34.4
(93.9)
Average high °C (°F) −11.0
(12.2)
−7.7
(18.1)
−0.7
(30.7)
6.6
(43.9)
13.5
(56.3)
19.1
(66.4)
20.6
(69.1)
18.5
(65.3)
12.1
(53.8)
4.2
(39.6)
−6.0
(21.2)
−8.5
(16.7)
5.1
(41.2)
Daily mean °C (°F) −15.2
(4.6)
−12.7
(9.1)
−6.3
(20.7)
1.0
(33.8)
7.3
(45.1)
12.3
(54.1)
14.3
(57.7)
12.6
(54.7)
7.2
(45)
0.5
(32.9)
−9.4
(15.1)
−12.5
(9.5)
−0.1
(31.8)
Average low °C (°F) −19.2
(−2.6)
−17.6
(0.3)
−11.9
(10.6)
−4.6
(23.7)
1.0
(33.8)
5.6
(42.1)
8.0
(46.4)
6.7
(44.1)
2.1
(35.8)
−3.2
(26.2)
−12.9
(8.8)
−16.5
(2.3)
−5.2
(22.6)
Record low °C (°F) −56.1
(−69)
−51.1
(−60)
−42.2
(−44)
−30.6
(−23.1)
−12.9
(8.8)
−6.1
(21)
−2.2
(28)
−8.3
(17.1)
−19.4
(−2.9)
−31.1
(−24)
−47.2
(−53)
−48.3
(−54.9)
−56.1
(−69)
Average mm (inches) 17.8
(0.701)
11.8
(0.465)
10.3
(0.406)
7.0
(0.276)
16.3
(0.642)
32.4
(1.276)
38.1
(1.5)
35.8
(1.409)
33.3
(1.311)
23.2
(0.913)
20.1
(0.791)
16.3
(0.642)
262.3
(10.327)
Average rainfall mm (inches) 0.3
(0.012)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
1.2
(0.047)
14.3
(0.563)
32.4
(1.276)
38.1
(1.5)
35.5
(1.398)
29.0
(1.142)
8.8
(0.346)
1.0
(0.039)
0.4
(0.016)
160.9
(6.335)
Average snowfall cm (inches) 25.4
(10)
18.3
(7.2)
14.8
(5.83)
7.2
(2.83)
2.0
(0.79)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.3
(0.12)
4.7
(1.85)
18.6
(7.32)
27.0
(10.63)
23.5
(9.25)
141.8
(55.83)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 11.2 8.3 6.4 4.4 8.0 10.9 13.5 12.5 11.9 11.5 11.5 11.2 121.2
Average rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 0.2 0.1 0.1 1.1 7.5 10.9 13.5 12.4 11.0 5.1 0.8 0.3 62.9
Average snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm) 11.9 9.1 7.0 3.8 1.2 0.0 0.0 0.3 1.5 7.9 12.4 12.2 67.4
Average relative humidity (%) 72.2 64.5 51.8 42.1 38.2 39.9 46.0 47.9 54.5 64.2 75.2 74.7 55.9
Mean monthly sunshine hours 43.8 105.5 163.2 238.5 251.1 266.7 247.6 226.5 132.7 84.9 39.8 26.8 1,827.1
Percent possible sunshine 21.4 41.6 44.8 54.4 46.8 46.9 43.8 46.4 34.1 27.0 17.8 14.9 36.7