Get us in your inbox

northern lights
Photograph: Shutterstock

Live stream the Northern Lights from your couch tonight

Written by
Sarah Medina

Just because you're stuck at home, doesn't mean you have to miss out on some of the world's most beautiful natural wonders. Not only can you take virtual tours of national parks and spot cuddly pandas on camera, you can also live stream the Northern Lights from the comfort of your couch. 

Set up by, the live cam is located at the Churchill Northern Studies Center in Manitoba, Canada and is situated directly underneath the aurora oval—one of the best places on earth to watch the aurora borealis. Although the northern lights occur year-round, late winter and early spring (when the arctic is dark for most of the day and the sky is clear) are the best seasons to see them. So now’s the perfect time to watch the live stream. Tune in during the darkest hours of the night, which are generally from 10pm–4am EST. 

As for what you're actually watching, the website also explains that aurora borealis occurs when electrically charged particles emitted by the sun collide with the oxygen and nitrogen in the earth's upper atmosphere. When many of these collisions occur at once, the oxygen and nitrogen emit enough light for the eye to detect. The color of the aurora depends on whether it's oxygen or nitrogen colliding with the charged particles: Oxygen emits a greenish-yellow or sometimes a red light, while nitrogen typically gives off a blue light. The other colors visible in the aurora—purples, pinks, and whites—come from blends of oxygen and nitrogen. 

View this post on Instagram

Lots of chatter about #nightskies goin on, so the northernmost National Park unit with FREE historic public use cabins has to remind everyone who's the top sled dog in the yard. While other parks may have the aurora glow on the distant horizon on special occasion, in Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, you're almost guaranteed to get a sore neck on almost any clear night from watching the #auroraborealis dance, pulse, and ripple across the sky, from horizon to horizon. (We recommend you lay down to look straight up.) And remember, it's not just about the darkest night skies, but @alaskanps also has the summer Midnight Sun AND the longest hours of dark skies in winter! Come stay the night at any of the seven first come, first serve public use log cabins along the Yukon River and enjoy the amazing night skies filled with stars to the horizon, aurora borealis, and even the Milky Way. In summer, relive the timeless travel through the preserve by boat or canoe, and in winter, venture the same frozen river route by snowmachine or dogsled. Pictured here is our largest cabin, Slaven's Roadhouse, a two-story Gold Rush days roadhouse meant to accommodate large groups. There's free firewood provided, too. #WellLeaveTheLightsOnForYou 1st photo: NPS/Sean Tevebaugh, 2nd & 3rd photos: NPS/Josh Spice #ParkStarWars #ftw #topthat #bringiton #micdrop @yellowstonenps @deathvalleynps @badlandsnps @joshuatreenps @saguaronationalpark @wrangellstenps @kenaifjordsnps @nationalparkservice #publiclands #findyourpark #alaska #aurora #cabin #halftheparkisafterdark

A post shared by Alaska National Parks (@alaskanps) on

If you want to plan a trip to see the lights in person next year check out our guide to Alaska

You may also like
You may also like