The Northern Lights, also known as Aurora Borealis, are a natural phenomenon that occurs in the polar regions of the Earth. They are a beautiful and colourful display of lights that can be seen in the night sky.
If you don’t already know, the phenomenon occurs when electrically charged particles from the sun collide with the Earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere.
The particles are then drawn towards the Earth’s magnetic poles, where they interact with gaseous particles in the atmosphere and emit light.
Scientists have recently revealed that we can now predict the Northern Lights just by looking at the sun
In a study that was published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, researchers from Croatia, Germany, Austria, and Russia present a novel approach for forecasting geomagnetic storms from solar observations. According to the authors, their findings enable an increase in lead warning times from hours to days.
This is significant because the solar wind, a stream of protons, electrons, and helium nuclei that is directed at our planet, can occasionally pose a threat to satellites, astronauts, and power grids.
What is the best time to experience the Northern Lights, and where?
The Northern Lights are a popular tourist attraction, and people often travel to locations such as Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland to see them. They are most commonly seen in the winter months, when the nights are longest and darkest.
The best time to see the Northern Lights is during the winter months, when the nights are longest and darkest. Specifically, the months of September through March tend to offer the best viewing opportunities. However, the Northern Lights can be unpredictable, and there is no guarantee that they will appear on any given night, even during the optimal viewing period.
The best places to see the Northern Lights are in the polar regions of the Earth, specifically in countries such as Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Canada, and Alaska. These regions are located close to the Earth’s magnetic poles and offer clear skies and minimal light pollution, which are important factors for viewing the Northern Lights.
It only makes sense that a nation with so much natural beauty is the location of the entrancing northern lights displays. To keep an eye out, it is advised travelling to charming Troms, also known as the “capital of the Arctic”. As well as the lookout points at remote Alta in northern Norway, famed as ‘The Town of the Northern Lights’ among locals.
The “Land of Fire and Ice” is also the location of magnificent lights. On Trafalgar’s Iceland tour, drift away from the artificial lights of its hip capital, Reykjavik, for 30 minutes by boat to a tranquil location surrounded by mountains. one of the best locations on earth to view the northern lights. Other enthralling locations include Vk (187 km southeast of Reykjavik) and Akureyri Park (in the far north).
Lapland in Sweden offers a surreal view of the northern lights. Head to Abisko National Park, located in the ‘auroral oval,’ a highly active region centering on the earth’s magnetic pole where auroral emissions happen).
The nights are clear, and aurora borealis appearances for two weeks in a row are not uncommon thanks to Abisko’s amazingly low rainfall. While dining outside in eager anticipation of the lights on Trafalgar’s Scandinavian Northern Lights tour, Kiruna (in the far north) seems like another planet.
It is also important to note that viewing the Northern Lights is weather-dependent, so it is a good idea to plan for a few nights in the area to increase your chances of seeing them.
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