One local area is mentioned again and again, when we want to point out the very best and easiest accessible destinations in Greenland to view the northern lights, and that is the airport settlement of Kangerlussuaq, uniquely located inland in lee of mountains and ice; Kangerlussuaq can boast of having more than 300 clear nights a year.
The season for watching the northern lights in Kangerlussuaq, which is from the end of September to the middle of April, is the same as in the rest of the country. Heading out on the only gravel road in Greenland leading directly to the Ice Cap, the opportunities for seeing the northern lights is at their best, as there is hardly any man made “pollution light” to speak of, even after travelling just a short stretch on the road.
Although the situation is pretty unique in Kangerlussuaq, the northern lights are none-the-less a common sight in the night sky many places in Greenland. Even with all the many street lamps in the capital city of Nuuk, the northern lights are clearly visible and will often make people stop, pause and look up at the sky on their way home from work.
SCIENCE AND MYTH
What are the northern lights really? Northern lights are electrically charged particles from the sun, which hits our atmosphere, and creates a natural phenomenon of light with altering colors, revealing how far above our planet the particles are, when they hit the atmosphere.
But is this scientific explanation of the Aurora Borealis really the reason why we, time after time, stop in our tracks when the northern lights flash across the night sky? Or are we reminded of something greater than ourselves, something almost magical that will even entice Greenlanders, who are thoroughly accustomed to seeing the northern lights, to look up at the night sky.
We know for a fact that the same fascination that we feel and that you will feel while visiting, in similar manner also challenged the imagination of our ancestors. In a well-known myth, we are told that when the northern lights dance across the night sky, it is the dead who are playing soccer with the skull of a walrus.
Even today people from some nations believe that children will be particularly intelligent if they are conceived on a night when the northern lights are visible in the sky. If that is the case, then one would think that we as a nation must be doing unbelievably well.