Can the Northern Lights Be Observed During a Summertime Solar Eclipse

-- Larry | March 6, 2023
Artist's conception of "mini-aurorae" at poles of brown dwarf


On August 12, 2026 there will be a total solar eclipse in Iceland. I have family members who will not travel there in the winter due to the extreme cold. It’s a lifelong dream of mine to see the aurora. Can we view the northern lights during a summertime total eclipse?

-- Larry


The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis/Australis) are only visible at night (or, strictly speaking, when the Sun is not up and the skies are dark), so they cannot be observed at the same time as a solar eclipse.  Also, with very few exceptions, the Northern Lights are only visible at north and south latitudes greater than 70 degrees.

-- Jeff Mangum