The Northern Lights, as the name suggests, are especially related to the polar regions. They occur most frequently in a belt of radius 2500 km centered on the magnetic north pole. This so-called auroral zone extends over northern Scandinavia, Island, the southern tip of Greenland and continuing over northern Canada, Alaska and along the northern coast of Siberia. The coasts of the Norwegian counties of Troms and Finnmark lay where occurrence is greatest, making northern Norway, due to its ease of access and mild winter climate, an attractive destination for people interested in observing this atmospheric phenomenon.
The Northern Lights can be seen from regions both north and south of the auroral zone, but the likelihood decreases with distance. There is a corresponding auroral zone around the southern magnetic pole, but these ‘Southern Lights’ are largely only seen from Antarctica and the surrounding ocean. Of the populated regions in the southern hemisphere, the Southern Lights, may only be glimpsed from Tasmania and southern New Zealand. The Northern and Southern Lights occur simultaneously and are almost mirror images of each other.