From mid-August to the end of September and from mid-November to mid-April are the best aurora viewing seasons in Yellowknife. These are the seasons we are open because they have clearer skies and more darkness than other times of the year.
Although the aurora actually occurs all year round, Yellowknife is located at such a high latitude that, in the summer, when the earth’s axis tilts towards the sun, we receive much more daylight (almost 24 hours of daylight!) and cannot see the aurora even though it is there.
On the flip side, we also receive much more darkness in the winter, which is ideal for aurora-viewing. During late autumn, the weather can be fairly unstable due to the transition out of summer and into winter, which means there is a higher probability of unclear skies.
How to Maximize your Aurora-Viewing Probability
The aurora can be seen in the Yellowknife area up to 240 days of the year, which is when our skies are dark. In the summer, we have the midnight sun and there is too much daylight to see it!
When there are no heavy clouds, it is almost always visible. In order to maximize the probability of seeing the aurora, we recommend that you participate in 3 consecutive days of aurora-viewing.
We keep a daily record of aurora sightings and have found each season that there is over a 95 percent chance of seeing it within those 3 days. You can check out the daily record here: Aurora Picture Log.