Lonely Planet Writer

See the Northern Lights and a 'moonbow' captured over Lapland

The fleeting nature of the Northern Lights means that planning a trip to see them can mean risking disappointment. But Aurora-seekers in Sweden were recently astonished to get more than they anticipated, glimpsing a rare combination of the Northern Lights and the rare astral phenomenon known as a ‘moonbow’ (lunar rainbow).

A photographer captured the Northern Lights and a “moonbow” at the same time. Image by Lights Over Lapland

Lights Over Lapland, a company that specialises in helping travellers find and photograph the Northern Lights near Abisko, Sweden, recently spotted the incredible phenomenon. As the polar nights get longer and the Northern Lights more visible, Lights Over Lapland founder Chad Blakeley and his guide Chris Hodgson were able to spot the spectacular scene.

The company runs daily Northern Lights photography tours, but also set up an Aurora webcam to show a live feed of the sky and Northern Lights in Abisko. The team was reviewing the footage from the webcam and saw that a ‘moonbow’ – or a nighttime rainbow produced by moonlight instead of sunlight – was forming in front of the Northern Lights.

The Northern Lights over Lapland. Image by ©Mihai Speteanu/Shutterstock

“It was a unique experience for me and I’ve been photographing the Northern Lights every winter for the last 10 years,” said Chad, in a statement. While the experience is rare, another photographer in Iceland was lucky enough to capture the Northern Lights and a moonbow back in 2016. To see the webcam footage or find out more about Northern Lights photography, visit the Lights Over Lapland website

If you’re eager to plan your own trip to see the Northern Lights, a new tour aims to increase travellers’ chances, as the continual darkness of Svalbard, Norway provides more opportunities to seek them out.