Thursday, 6 August 2015

Northern Lights

Flashing blades of Valkyries who take fallen warriors away, to the palaces of Valhalla... It is hard to give a description more romantic and epic than these thoughts of ancient vikings about Northern Lights. The effect is also known under an imagination-boosting appellation of Aurora Borealis, named after the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora, and the Greek god of the north wind, Boreas.

Northern Lights over a lighthouse

In fact, Northern Lights are one of the most magnificent spectacles that planet Earth performs for us. The phenomenon is quite hard to understand, and it is so tempting to believe old Lappish legends of sparks from a fox's tail or signs sent from the world of the dead to the living. 

Of course, today there is a simple and logical explanation of the phenomenon. Northern Lights (they can be viewed in South Pole too, that is why it is more correct to call them Polar Lights) are nothing but charged particles of solar wind dragged by the magnetic field of Earth into the upper layers of our atmosphere. There, about 100 km above the surface, they collide with air molecules and start their surrealistic game of color, shimmering from red to blue, violet or green. 

Aurora Borealis, Tromsø, Norway

No doubt, it is much better to see that stunning natural performance with your own eyes than read hundreds of over-fervid reviews. Norway is a perfect place to observe this magical phenomenon in the dark ink-blue skies. 

Unfortunately, there is now “perfect time” to catch Northern Lights, they are very hard to predict. Sometimes the lights can be seen 2 or 3 weeks in a row, and sometimes Aurora Borealis does not show itself for days. If you are going to “hunt” the phenomenon, pay attention to the weather forecast

Weather: It should be a frosty night with clear skies, without any snowfall or winds that may bring clouds. 
Dates: General dates are from October 21 to February 21, but they are flexible depending on the region. 
Time: From 9-9:30 pm to 11:30 pm. 
Place: The skies above virtually all territory of the Northern Norway may be a perfect scene for Aurora Borealis. 

Here is the list of recommended destinations for tourist who want to enjoy the Polar spectacle:
  • Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. It is wild, beautiful, lost on the edge of the world, but with all comforts of civilization. 
  • Tromsø, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Norway. 
  • North Cape (Nordkapp), the most northerly point of Norway.

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