Seeing the Northern Lights

images-103

The Northern Lights are one of the greatest natural feats in the world today. There are few countries in the world that you can travel to and get a glimpse of these lights. But before you plan a trip to see this natural beauty, you want to make sure you will see them. Tracking the Northern Lights can be a bit tricky and the last thing you want to do is go out to the aurora zone and not see the lights. The best thing you can do is educate yourself and do a bit of research before heading out.

First things first. The recommended time to take a trip to the lights is between September and April. This is when the lights are most frequently visible. The only outside forces that could prevent a sighting is overcast skies and areas with dense populations creating artificial light. The weather is hard to control (actually impossible) but hopefully you can work it out to be in an area of low population and little to no artificial light on a clear night. If you are thinking of planning a trip soon you’ll be in luck. NASA has been conducting data on the Northern Lights for some time now and has concluded that days of visibility are always best and brightest during the solar maximum of the sun’s cycle which occurs every eleven years. NASA has predicted that this will happen in the autumn of 2013 but there will be a mini cycle to follow in 2015. This is called a twin peak and is great for someone chasing the Northern Lights.

images-103

Just for a bit of background on the lights. They are created and start 91,000,000 (not a typo) miles away from solar flares that toss around high energy particles in space. It is when these particles are thrusted towards Earth that they react with gases in the Ionsphere and create colors that people aren’t used to seeing in the sky. Its the Earth’s natural magnetic field that causes the lights hang and swirl across the sky. The type of gas that the particles clash with determine the color of the lights. This is generally hues of green and yellow, but if you’re lucky you’ll get to see reds, purples, blues, and pinks.

There are many places to stay across the aurora zone that can enhance the viewing experience of the lights for people. There are hotels with clear ceilings that allow the Northern Lights to be your natural night light as you go to sleep. For the more rugged, there are places that will rent out igloos under the lights for you to stay in or perhaps let you build your own! Whether you stay under the lights or just get a chance to go out and sit underneath them, you are sure to remember it for the rest of your life.