Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory

Location Information

SGO is located in central Finnish Lapland (geographic coordinates: 67°22'N, 26°38'E) on the beautiful banks of river Kitinen, 115 km north from the Arctic Circle and 7 km south from Sodankylä, in a small village called Tähtelä.

About Finland

Finland is a Nordic country, member of the European Union since 1995. The capital city is Helsinki, located on the southern coast of the country. The local currency is euro (€) and the official languages are Finnish and Swedish (in the northernmost part of the country, Northern Sámi, Inari Sámi and Skolt Sámi are also recognised as minority languages). Most people understand and are able to communicate in English as well. The Finnish population is currently just under 5.5 million inhabitants, and the total land area of the country is 338,424 km2.

About Sodankylä

Sodankylä is one of the major local centres in Lapland, with a population of about 9,000 and a surface area of 12,400 km2. It is the second largest municipality in Finland, after Inari. The main village is located 120 km north from the Arctic Circle.

The most important research organisations located here are the Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory, which is an independent institute of the University of Oulu, the Arctic Research Centre of the Finnish Meterological Institute and the EISCAT receiver site, all of which are located in Tähtelä.


The period of midnight sun lasts from 30 May to 15 July, and the polar night lasts from 19 until 25 December. The mean temperature in January is -14°C and it is +15°C in July, but temperatures can easily reach -35°C in winter and +25°C in summer. The snow cover usually lasts from early November until mid-May.

There are about 150 nights per year with auroral display, and the probability of seeing the northern light around the equinoxes is very high – provided the sky is clear.

Coming to Sodankylä

By plane

Visitors travelling to Sodankylä are strongly encouraged to fly to Rovaniemi (RVN) and to avoid any other airport (e.g., Kittilä and Ivalo), since Rovaniemi airport is the only one having bus connections to Sodankylä.

Apart from a few seasonal charter flights, Rovaniemi only has direct connections to and from Helsinki (HEL). Presently, two airlines fly to Rovaniemi: Finnair and Norwegian Air Shuttle. The timetables can be found from their webpages (follow the links).

Bus connections to Sodankylä are available for some of the flights; timetables can be found in the Matkahuolto webpages (make sure you select "Rovaniemi lentoasema (Rovaniemi)" as your starting point). The journey takes between 1h30 and 2h depending on the bus service: vakio (regular) or pika (express). Prices for one adult currently range between 23,50 € and 27,10 € accordingly. It is also possible to take the airport collective taxi to get to the city centre of Rovaniemi (current price: 7 €). The collective taxi waits just in front of the exit from the baggage claim area upon each arrival. Then, buses to Sodankylä can be taken from the central bus station (linja-autoasema).

Note that all major car rental companies also offer their services directly at Rovaniemi airport.

By train

It is also possible to come by train from Helsinki (via Oulu and Kemi) to Rovaniemi. There are two night trains and two day trains every day. See the webpages of the Finnish railway company (VR) for more information.

Trains have short connections with buses directly from Rovaniemi railway station (rautatieasema) to Sodankylä.

Last modified: 2019-07-05, 07:32:42.