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Aurora Borealis: Now’s the time

Join G Adventures’ own Alistair Butchers as he waxes about how the Northern Lights have bewitched, bothered, and bewildered people for centuries, and why right now is the time to see them.

by Alistair Butchers Posted on 17 November 2014

Lights caused by the sweeping tail of a fox across the sky. Spirits of maids dancing in the heavens. The Valkyries riding through the air. Fires lit by the gods. The first sight of an alien invasion. The otherworldly vision of the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights have bewitched, bothered and bewildered people from all nations for centuries. And right now, as we approach the northern hemisphere’s winter of 2014, there is no better time this decade to see this naturally occurring phenomenon.

The result of gaseous particles from Earth’s atmosphere colliding with particles in the atmosphere of the Sun, the Northern Lights illuminate the skies, seemingly bringing them to life nearer the magnetic poles of our planet. Their brilliant greens, blues, purples and reds occur when these collisions take place at different altitudes and among different temperatures of gases. Our Sun is the catalyst for these colours, beating with an intensity that comes to a head every 11 years, as part of its own solar cycle. This cycle reaches a peak when there are more sunspots on the Sun’s surface than can be measured. This period, known as solar maximum, provides the best possible chance to see the lights – and it’s occurring right now! Solar maximum may not mean the most intense sighting of the lights, but it does mean the best opportunity to see this incredible sight.

So where should you go to see the Northern Lights? In the past, they’ve been known to occur as far south as Mexico, but at this time of year, and with time running out on solar maximum, the best place to go is north. Scandinavia, with its ancient myths and legends that revere the lights in the sky, is the perfect location for viewing the phenomenon. And, with countless incredible things to do there, like dogsledding, staying at the Icehotel in Sweden, or staying with a local family in Reykjavik before heading out to see the sky light up, there’s no better reason to go than right now. One sight of the Northern Lights dancing across the sky will make you understand why this vision inspired the beliefs and legends of generations past.


Go North

G Adventures would be honoured to take you to see this incredible phenomenon. The Lapland Active Adventure? and the Local Living Iceland—Northern Lights & Reykjavík are the perfect ways to go north and get active. Come see the incredible things this part of the world has to offer.

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