‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’: When and How to See the Rare Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis)

The Northern Lights, also known as Aurora Borealis, are considered some of the most fascinating weather phenomena in history. During the winter months, people in the northern-most states of the U.S. and other high northern latitudes have a rare chance to see colorful waves of lights moving across the sky. Although the Northern Lights are not visible everywhere in the world, people can get a small fix of the beauty elsewhere — Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Just like in real life, the Nintendo game offers a rare chance to see the Northern Lights. Here’s what you need to know.

Northern Lights in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ Northern Lights | Elise Nelson/Showbiz Cheat Sheet/Nintendo

When to see the Northern Lights in ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’

Like Animal Crossing: New Horizons meteor showers, the Northern Lights will only appear on a bright, clear night. Specifically, fans should keep an eye out for the weather phenomenon during the winter months. In the Northern Hemisphere, the lights can show up any night between Dec. 11 and Feb. 24, according to Game8. Meanwhile, Southern Hemisphere players can catch them from June 11 to Aug. 24.

Narrowing down the timeframe even further, players can only see the Northern Lights after 7 p.m. local time and before sunrise. So, those who play the longest at night will have a greater chance of experiencing the phenomenon. When the Northern Lights do appear, they’ll only stick around for two hours, meaning fans should capture any photos as quickly as possible.

How to check out the Northern Lights and what to do when you see them

When you see the lights dancing across the sky, use the right control stick on the Nintendo Switch to look up at the sky. If you want to snap a photo, use the ZL button to open your NookPhone and select the camera app. This is a great opportunity to get stunning, rare photos with friends, your favorite villagers, and your favorite island hangouts.

Beyond the lights in the sky, nothing special really happens in Animal Crossing: New Horizons when Auroras appear. However, you’ll likely find several villagers hanging around Resident Services and looking at the sky. You can talk to them to hear some rare dialogue about the Northern Lights.

You can also commemorate the evening with your very own Aurora wallpaper, which will cover your home’s walls with Northern Lights. In the Northern Hemisphere, you can purchase the Aurora wall from Nook Shopping during the month of December. Meanwhile, in the Southern Hemisphere, the item is available from June 7 to July 6. You can always time travel back to the appropriate month if you missed the sale.

Tips for finding the Northern Lights in ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’

The Northern Lights are a completely random weather pattern, so there’s no surefire way to predict when you’ll see something. However, if you’re familiar with your island’s other weather patterns, you can get a general idea by using MeteoNook. Developed by popular Animal Crossing dataminer Ninji, this app predicts weather patterns based on previous experiences.

Otherwise, finding the Northern Lights takes patience. Make sure to check your island every night to increase your chances of seeing them. Additionally, pay attention to villager dialogue during the day — some of them might mention that Auroras will appear later that evening.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons and its Happy Home Paradise DLC are available now on Nintendo Switch.

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