This is how you can name a Northern Lights ‘storm’

·2-min read
Northern Lights in Sortland, Norway (Getty)
Northern Lights in Sortland, Norway (Getty)

Watching the Northern Lights dance across the sky is a bucket-list worthy sight.

It may be some time before we can see the phenomenon in person (unless you head to northern Scotland to catch a glimpse), but members of the public are now being invited to suggest names for each unique ‘storm’.

In a new campaign from Visit Arctic Europe, which promotes tourism in Norwegian, Finnish and Swedish Lapland, people from around the globe are being iasked to come up with unique names for the natural phenomenon.

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Each aurora event is unique, which is why the organisation wants to start giving them individual monikers, like those given to hurricanes and tropical storms.

“There are so many Northern Lights visible in Arctic Europe from autumn to early spring that we started giving them names the same way other storms are named. This way, they get their own identities and it’s easier to communicate about them,” said Rauno Posio, program director of Visit Arctic Europe, in a statement.

Auroras, or Northern Lights, are formed when solar wind from the sun gets past the magnetic field and travels towards earth.

Dancing over Hamnoy, Norway (Getty)
Northern Lights dancing over Hamnoy, Norway (Getty)

The colourful lights appear when the particles from the solar wind hit the Earth’s atmosphere and release energy.

The Northern Lights can typically be seen in Nordic countries between August and April each year, when the night skies are clear.

Naming auroras will not only make it easier for scientists to discuss these solar storms, but visitors will also be able to recall the exact aurora they saw too.

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To name your own aurora, simply go to This is Arctic and head to the ‘Naming Auroras’ section. There is the option to give a backstory and add your email and Instagram handle too.

The site says: “Northern lights are never the same. Every light show in the sky has its own identity. They shine, they dance, they change colours and they might disappear as quickly as they show up. We wanted to create a way to make a deeper connection to the experience.”

Up until now these light shows have been given traditional Nordic names, alternating between Norwegian, Finnish and Swedish origin.

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The storm in the sky on 27 October, for example, will be called ‘Sampo’ which is the name of the miracle machine and magic mill in the Finnish national poem, Kalevala.

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