Why Go On Holiday to See the Northern Lights?
The Northern Lights are the greatest natural lightshow the earth can deliver, having enchanted people since before the time of the Romans, who gave it the name aurora borealis in honour of Aurora, goddess of the dawn – whose heavenly activities they believed they were witnessing. Across the other side of the globe, the ancient Chinese believed the Northern Lights were the fiery breath of dragons fighting in the sky. This can only go some way to explain quite how spectacular the lights are when you seen them for yourself, however.
Here’s the science bit
The unearthly swirling, dancing, glowing greens and blues of the Northern lights are caused by gaseous particles in the earth’s atmosphere colliding with electrically charged solar particles. As they travel from the sun, these particles are dragged by the earth’s magnetic field into funnels, with the colours being produced by the type of gas particles that are colliding. Although the lights can be seen all year round, between September and March is generally considered the time for the most awe-inspiring lightshows, thanks to increased solar activity. This year is meant to be an 11-year peak for the Sunspot Cycle, so the lights should be more incredible than ever.
OK, I’m sold!
As well you should be. Northern Lights holidays are a fantastic way not only to witness the awesome lights, but also the perfect excuse to visit Scandinavia. The best places to see the aurora borealis are northern Norway, Finnish Lapland and Arctic Sweden, although you’re also on to a good thing in Alaska and Canada’s Yukon Territory. There are many dedicated Northern Lights breaks available through travel firms, offering some great deals throughout winter 2012-13, with some offering accommodation in other wonders of the travel world, such as Sweden’s amazing ICEHOTEL.