New opportunities to see northern lights in Spain

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northern lights
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This past weekend, people in various parts of Spain were surprised by the beautiful appearance of auroras boreales, or northern lights. This special phenomenon could be admired in Valencia, Catalonia and even in parts of Madrid where light pollution is less intense.

According to scientists, more of these light shows will appear in the Spanish sky in the coming months and even until 2026. So this is a good time to prepare and not miss any opportunity to see these beautiful scenes.

Geomagnetic storm

The recent sightings of northern lights in Spain were thanks to a powerful geomagnetic storm. This is a rare event that is usually associated with periods of high solar activity. During such periods, the Sun can experience massive explosions, releasing large amounts of particles. Experts predict that within months, or early 2025 at the latest, new auroras boreales will be visible from Spain, especially in higher areas away from light pollution. This is because the sun will then reach its maximum activity. This will cause new solar storms that contribute to the formation of the Northern Lights.

What are auroras boreales?

Auroras boreales are light phenomena that manifest in the form of curtains, arches or bands of bright colours in the night sky. They appear as a result of the interaction between the solar wind and the Earth’s magnetic field. The solar wind is caused by solar flares, atmospheric eruptions and coronal mass ejections. Electrons and protons collide in this way with the atoms and molecules of the gases in the upper layers of the atmosphere. These collisions cause the electrons of the nitrogen and oxygen atoms to temporarily rise to a higher, “excited” energy state. As a result, they take on their colours according to AEMET.

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Where to see Northern Lights in Spain?

To best experience this phenomenon from Spain, it is ideal to go as far north as possible and be at a considerable height above sea level. However, as recently emerged, there may be exceptions where Northern Lights are also visible in other and unexpected places. Auroras come in different colours depending on the composition of the atmosphere and the altitude. For example, green auroras are created by oxygen at an altitude of about 100 kilometres, while red hues are created by collisions at higher altitudes, above 200 kilometres.

Preparing for the best view

With scientists expecting increased solar activity and therefore more auroras boreales, it is important to make preparations to see these spectacular light shows. Look for locations that are far away from urban light pollution, preferably at high altitudes. Keep an eye on geomagnetic storm forecasts and prepare for unforgettable nights under the stars with the dancing lights of the Aurora Boreales.

Some places in Spain with little light pollution – and when it is cloudless with beautiful clear starry skies – are:

  • Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park in the province of Huesca
  • La Foz de Arbayún Nature Reserve in Navarre
  • Sierra de Gredos Natural Park in the province of Ávila
  • El Valladal in the Madrid region
  • Sierra de Albarracín and the Gúdar Javalambre region in the province of Teruel
  • Peña Trevinca in the municipality of A Veiga in the province of Orense (Galicia)
  • Las Batuecas-Sierra de Francia Natural Park in the province of Salamanca
  • Sierra de Montsec in the Spanish Pyrenees, provinces of Lleida and Huesca

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