Aurora Borealis is a natural phenomenon which happens in the northern hemisphere during the winter months of the year. The lights which we can see shining and dancing in the sky are caused by particles collided into each other at a high speed, causing energy to be released into the night sky. This stunning light show is something which happens all over the north of the world and also in the south, know there as the Aurora Australis. As far as the science goes behind this scene, charged particles from the sun collide with ones in the earth’s atmosphere and this can give off lights of green, blue and purple as well as others depending on which atoms collide with one another. Today we are going to take a deeper look into this stunning spectacle and also see how you can make the most of seeing it for yourself this year.
When do they occur?
As we have discussed above, the northern lights are caused by gaseous particles colliding with each other in the sky. The particles which come from the sun are millions of degrees and in contrast, our particles can be very cold. This is why such a large amount of energy is released as light during this chemical collision. So because the difference in temperature needs to be high for this to occur, we are much more likely to see this in the months from November to February when it is cold and we are in the height of winter.
Where can we see them?
Just like any light show in the sky including being able to view the stars on a clear night, it is always easier for us to be in a more rural area where there isn’t much light pollution from large buildings and homes and cars. There are also certain countries which are better viewing spot than others too.
Well, it stands to reason with these being the northern lights, that the more north you go the better your chances will be of seeing this spectacle for yourself. If you travel to a country such as Iceland they offer special northern lights tours for you to try as well as allow you to stay in an igloo during your stay. You can also see the lights very well in Finland, Siberia and other northern areas like these.
When is the best time?
Believe it or not, the northern lights don’t always happen the same every year and in fact they will peak some years compared to others. At the moment it seems as if the gap in years for the best activity is around 11 years, and since 2013 offered us a great show, it is likely to be 2024 when the next peak occurs. This isn’t to say that the lights won’t still be amazing to behold if you visit in the next few years.
We know the name Aurora as the real name of the princess in Sleeping Beauty, and as well is this there is a Roman Goddess called Aurora who was the goddess of the dawn. This represents life and light and hence is where the name for this phenomena came from.
How to make the most of a trip
When you want to visit the northern lights yourself there will be a few different things that you can do to make the trip the best it can possibly be and to make the most of it all. The northern lights are a natural spectacle which we should all take the time to see at least once in our lifetimes, and to make the most of your trip you will want to pick the right time of year as well as the right country. As far as the time of year goes, January can be the ideal time for viewing the lights as this is usually when the weather is at its coldest. You can also choose a country such as Iceland who offer special northern lights holidays in the best location to view this show. When you get to your destination you will want to make sure you have lots of layers and that you are prepared for walking a little bit too. Think about bringing along a camera with you so that you can try to capture the magic, but make sure you have a tripod so that you can get the best images you can!