I’ve mentioned this before; but one thing that has always been on my bucket list is seeing the Aurora Borealis. This is something I’m going to make sure we do in Canada! However, it’s looking like it’s going to cost a fair bit, plus there’s specific times of the year when spotting them is more likely, so we’re going to have to plan it properly! If you don’t fancy a science/astronomy (?) lesson, then skip the next paragraph…
The Aurora are formed from fast moving, electrically charged particles that emanate from the sun. These are driven towards the poles by the Earth’s magnetic field – their various colours are a result of the different gases in the upper atmosphere. Sounds pretty cool, huh? In the northern hemisphere they are called the Aurora Borealis and in the southern hemisphere they are called the Aurora Australis. The Aurora Borealis forms in an oval shaped halo, and is most common in the Arctic region. There being very little light pollution up there probably helps with spotting them too.
The best times to see them are between September-October and March-April. And I’ve just read that the strength of activity (god I’m boring!) runs in 11 year cycles; with 2012/13 being a peak moment known as ‘Solar Maximum’, which means there will be Aurora all over the shop.
As for the place to see them, well I think the further north you can go, the better. We’ve found a place in Yellowknife, in the Northwestern Territories which is apparently the ‘northern lights capital of the world’. Apparently it’s also known as the ‘diamond capital of North America’, how interesting!! 😉
Flights are pretty expensive, it’s around £300-400 each for a return flight. Plus we’ll probably want to stay in a hotel, as we’ll be viewing them at night. There are various tour companies that take you the best places to see them like Aurora Village,which I’ve mentioned before. It is $120 for a few hours viewing, and you can also reserve heated seats!
I’ll probably be really pathetic and cry when I see them. I’ve always wanted to see them, so it’s a big thing for me. Hopefully we can get some good pictures/videos and we can show you them! Not sure the ones I take will be as good as this though!
P.s: I’ve found a website that has a live feed of Yellowknife Aurora sightings. I know what I’m going to be doing all day until we leave now!