The northern lights are an exciting phenomenon that the Earth has prepared for us. This enchanting dance of spectacular lights is unpredictable, fascinates, and leaves no one indifferent. Despite the difficulties that this event hides, many dream of watching the bewitching play of colors in the sky live, only a few fulfill their dream.
Features of the aurora
The aurora is a natural phenomenon in the sky in the polar region around the north and south poles, and the further north you go, the higher the chance of seeing it. The auroral oval is a ring around the Earth’s magnetic poles, within a radius of approximately 2500 kilometers from the Earth’s magnetic pole, in the northern and southern hemispheres. The aurora has always been observed only in the northernmost parts of the planet, which is why it has always been called the “Northern Lights”.
The northern occurs in the northern hemisphere (north of the equator), while the southern occurs in the southern (south of the equator). The southern lights differ only in their location. The appearance of the northern lights can be very different: from luminous garlands, stripes, arcs in the form of clouds.
Scientists have found that the northern and southern lights are mirror images that appear at the same time, with similar shapes and colors. In summer, it is not visible beyond the Arctic Circle, but in Antarctica it is winter, so you can see it, and vice versa.
- Note! The aurora is best seen on cold nights because it occurs above cloud level. On cold nights, the sky is often clear, so the aurora is easier to see, and the darker the night, the more clearly the aurora is visible.
Residential areas with illuminated buildings and street lamps should be avoided. From the top of the hills and the shores of the lake – the best view from a height and infinity. Aurora Borealis is most active in March and September. It rarely appears for a long time, and often it takes only a few minutes, then disappears, and returns later. With any luck, this vision could take several hours.
How does the glow in the sky happen?
The play of light is an atmospheric phenomenon that can be seen with the naked eye from our planet, although in fact the origins are very far from us.
This phenomenon is the result of the collision of gaseous particles with charged particles of solar origin in the atmosphere. The colors of the aurora provide information about how high above the planet’s surface particles enter the atmosphere. Green lights are especially close: red, yellow, purple or blue are much further away.
Pale green and pink are the most common colors.
Interesting! Why is the glow moving? Beams of charged particles penetrate into the upper layers of the atmosphere: particles move and light moves.
Journey to the Northern Lights
Where and when is the best time to see the northern lights? Every year, thousands of travelers head to the countries located in the auroral oval, hoping to witness this unforgettable spectacle. During the dark season, during the winter months, the chances of seeing the Northern Lights are the highest. From November to January, at the North Pole, the sun usually does not rise at all – it is dark day and night. And these are ideal conditions to see the northern lights in the sky.
The aurora borealis is a phenomenon that actually happens all year round, but is only visible in the dark and away from sources of light pollution. They can be admired at certain latitudes in different parts of the world: Norway, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Russia, Greenland, Canada and Alaska. The period from the end of October to April is the best time.
Additional Information! Excursion to the Northern Lights may involve staying in very low temperatures for a long period of time (sometimes 4 – 5 hours in a row). It’s easier for tourists to get to the north pole, where the terrain is more hospitable and there’s plenty to do besides watching the aurora.
The aurora borealis is less well known than its northern counterpart, as it is mostly found in hard-to-reach places. At the south pole, thick ice surrounds Antarctica, making it almost impossible to get there. It can be seen from Antarctica and parts of New Zealand, Australia and Tasmania.
The most breathtaking places to see the Northern Lights
Abisko in Sweden is one of the most beautiful places in the world to see the Northern Lights. The Aurora Sky station, perched atop Mount Nuolha, at an altitude of over 1000 meters, is the observation point for the northern lights in Abisko.
Tromsø Norway is another very popular destination for those who love the Northern Lights. It is surrounded by high mountains, fjords and coastal islands, which create a different microclimate, so there is almost always a place with clear skies in the vicinity of the city,
Northern Finland is very popular among lovers of hunting for the northern lights. It is visible in Finnish Lapland for about 200 nights a year. The most popular place to see the light is Rovaniemi.
Reykjavik Iceland. The aurora borealis has made Iceland very popular with tourists. It is best to see the light in Reykjavik on the coast, the most famous of which is Cave Island,
Isle of Skye, Scotland. Although Skye in Scotland is not as popular as the previous destinations, it is a beautiful place with clear skies, perfect for watching the light show.
Fairbanks Alaska is a great place for tourists who love the Northern Lights and one of the most popular destinations. Aurora Pointe, where you can see the Northern Lights, is just 15 minutes from downtown Fairbanks.
A beautiful, warm place serving coffee, tea and snacks while tourists wait for the light to come.
Yukon Canada is another famous destination offering numerous trips, excursions and activities related to this exciting phenomenon.
Travel for the Northern Lights in Russia
The Arctic Circle crosses most of the country and the night light show can be seen from Karelia to Chukotka. This allows you to find milder temperatures in some places that are favorable for observing a natural phenomenon. In Russia, the northern lights appear more often during the spring and autumn equinoxes (approximately March 22 and September 22), in the northern hemisphere.
Northern lights in Murmansk
It is best to choose the Kola Peninsula, in the vicinity of Murmansk. The Murmansk region is located on the border with Finland and Norway. Watching the aurora borealis is quite a pleasant experience in Murmansk, as the air temperature does not fall below -10 C.
Aurora Borealis of Khibiny
The Khibiny Mountains are located south of Murmansk, but the climate is more severe. From above, the sky is clear and bright, and there is a better chance of seeing the Northern Lights.
Northern Lights Arkhangelsk
The Arkhangelsk region is the largest region in the north of Russia and, due to its location, is one of the most popular places for observing the northern lights in Russia. The almost complete absence of light pollution makes it easy to see the northern lights. The best time is from April to September.
Northern Lights Petrozavodsk
Sometimes the northern lights can be seen in Petrozavodsk, the capital of Karelia, located 400 km north of St. Petersburg. You can also watch the northern lights on the island of Solovki.