Book Review – Northern Lights: The Definitive Guide to Auroras

Book Review – Northern Lights: The Definitive Guide to Auroras


Seeing the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) is high on many people’s bucket list, both astronomers and non-astronomers alike. Northern Lights: The Definitive Guide to Auroras by Tom Kerss is a comprehensive book that looks at all aspects of the aurora.

The beginning of the book takes a dive into the history of the Northern Lights, covering the fascinating mythology surrounding the aurora as well as some of the early scientific research and theories about how and why it forms.  The book then moves on to cover the science of the Northern Lights, and it talks about how the solar cycle affects auroral displays, the different types of aurora that you may see, and the effect of geomagnetic storms. It also covers aurorae seen on other worlds elsewhere in our solar system. Although there is a lot of detail in this section, it is extremely beginner friendly and accessible to people of all experience levels. Much of the information in this section is relevant to the Aurora Australis (Southern Lights) as well.

Next there is an extremely detailed guide to aurora chasing and this covers information about where and when you can see the Northern Lights, aurora forecasting and some aurora-chasing tips. This section is invaluable and will help to ensure that you make the correct choices when planning your aurora trips. It will help you to save money by planning your own excursions and therefore side-step the extremely expensive world of aurora tourism. The information in this section on aurora chasing is specific to the Northern Lights.

If you do decide to take a trip to see the Northern Lights, the chances are that you will want to photograph it. The final part of this book is all about aurora photography and it covers everything from equipment to camera settings, framing your shots and image processing. This is an extremely useful resource, especially for people who are new to nightscape photography. At the back of the book there is a list of useful online resources, apps and software.  

Tom has packed an incredible amount of information into a small space and even experienced astronomers will learn new things from this book. It is really excellent value for money and is a must-have guide for anybody who wants to learn more about this beautiful phenomenon.

Mary McIntyre FRAS


Discover the incomparable beauty of the Northern Lights with this accessible guide for aspiring astronomers and seasoned night sky observers. Covers the essential equipment needed for observation and photography and full of stunning photographs.

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