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The Best Places In The World To See The Northern Lights
The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) are one of nature's most spectacular phenomena and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
Have you seen The Northern Lights or are you planning a trip to go to see them soon? If so we would love to hear all about your experiences (perhaps with a photo or two). You can contact us via our contact page.
Northern Lights: The Science, Myth and Wonder of the Aurora Borealis
by Calvin Hall (Photographer), Daryl Pederson (Photographer)
A photographic book about the Northern Lights, with accompanying text, that will have you jumping on the next plane to Alaska!
Buy the book Northern Lights: The Science, Myth, and Wonder of the Aurora Borealis securely online
The Northern Lights, or the Aurora Borealis to give them their scientific name, are spectacular light shows that take place when solar flares collide with the Earth’s magnetic field and ionosphere.
Red, green, blue and violet colours light up the night sky over the Arctic in what is an incredible display of nature’s beauty.
And if you want to see the northern lights this year your chances are good. The strength of these natural light shows waxes and wanes on an 11-year cycle, and the winter of 2012-2013 is expected to bring near-peak viewing conditions.
Of course, conditions still have to be right to see them (perfect viewing conditions demand clear weather and a dark sky) and are at the mercy of nature and the weather. As they are created far above the clouds, you'll need a clear night to see them. Many people book a short break to see the northern lights and come away disappointed because they didn't materialise. Realistically, you need to book at least a week at your destination to get a good chance of seeing them properly.
The closer you are to the Arctic, the better chance you'll have. And the darker the night the better - avoid full moons and light pollution from towns and cities!
One of the best places to see it is Iceland where companies such as Northern Lights Iceland offer tours specifically aimed at Northern Light spotters.
Stateside, Alaska is the American northern lights destination of choice. Other hotspots include Canada's Lake Laberge. You can rent cabins by the lakeside at www.foxbayretreat.com, a get away from it all retreat where you can also enjoy canoeing, ice fishing and midnight sleigh rides under a star-studded northern night sky!
Northern Scandinavia and Greenland draw serious aurora-seekers because of their consistently clear skies and the brightness of the lights. At the Igloo Village in Lapland (Finland), the Northern Lights are visible from late August to late April. Here you can stay overnight in a traditional snow igloo or a unique futuristic glass igloo, and admire the northern lights through the glass ceiling. They also have the world’s largest smoke sauna. Winter is a good time to visit as they also offer husky safaris, snowmobile safaris, reindeer safaris and ice-fishing trips as well as guided ski treks.
You can also witness the Northern Lights in the UK. They are a regular feature of the night sky from the Autumn through to Spring in the north of Scotland where they are known as Fir Chlis which means Nimble Man in Scots Gaelic or Merry Dancers.
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