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Which side sit on longhauls to see northern lights

Which side sit on longhauls to see northern lights

Old Jun 10, 2024, 11:29 pm
  #1  
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Which side sit on longhauls to see northern lights

I'm flying AY1 and AY2 (HEL-LAX-HEL) later this fall. Since the flight path goes so far north that the aurora oval would actually be to the SOUTH of most of the the flight path, especially the part during during darkness, would it be better to sit facing south or north to increase odds of seeing the aurora?

I've found several posts that you CAN see aurora on these flights (and Finnair's own website mentions that many of their longhauls have a shot), but nothing about whether to face north or south if the flight path is further north than the aurora oval (like the polar routes for example). I also recognize that during the seasons with longer daylight hours, it might not matter because the sky may be too bright the entire way.

Thanks for any advice!
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Old Jun 11, 2024, 4:10 am
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No experience on that route, but the old HEL-NRT route was approx flying similar lattitude and northern lights were then visible on the north side of the plane.
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Old Jun 11, 2024, 4:22 am
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Just come to Australia! With the recent solar flares we can see the equivalent of the norther lights outside our windows
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Old Jun 11, 2024, 5:11 am
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North side definitely. Auroras are at best above you but very unlikely to the south that you would see them. They're at least at 100km altitude so you need to have clear view to the sky above if you were near to the edge of their appearance and faced southwards.
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Old Jun 11, 2024, 4:33 pm
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Originally Posted by intuition
No experience on that route, but the old HEL-NRT route was approx flying similar lattitude and northern lights were then visible on the north side of the plane.
Thanks for the insight!

Originally Posted by Cards1234
Just come to Australia! With the recent solar flares we can see the equivalent of the norther lights outside our windows
I wish it were that easy! Aurora Australis is on the bucket list for sure!

Originally Posted by avermat
North side definitely. Auroras are at best above you but very unlikely to the south that you would see them. They're at least at 100km altitude so you need to have clear view to the sky above if you were near to the edge of their appearance and faced southwards.
Thanks, you think northward is better even if the flight path is not just "near to the edge," but far to the north (think polar) of the aurora oval?

I saw this: https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/4...th-for-aurora/ and someone who worked at lat 70 N (Greenland) said auroras were more often to the south.
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Old Jun 12, 2024, 7:23 am
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Originally Posted by MahiMahi524
Thanks, you think northward is better even if the flight path is not just "near to the edge," but far to the north (think polar) of the aurora oval?
You will spend much more time looking into "aurora oval" on the northern window as you approach there and exit even if the flight takes extreme polar route. Southward you have chance to see only for a short period while you're north enough. And the auroras might be above you and you won't see a thing.

Anyway seeing auroras is just matter of pure luck and chance. Only way to increase your chances is repetition.
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