One of the world’s most remarkable natural phenomena is the Aurora borealis, or the Northern Lights. This is nature’s heavenly light show – and can only be experienced during the winter months in the Arctic. (The Aurora australis, or Southern Lights, are visible during winter in the Antarctic).
The Northern Lights, though present year round, are visible only in the darker autumn and winter months in the Arctic, close to the Earth’s magnetic pole – usually between September and April in Lapland. They need clear, cloudless skies to be visible, and are better seen on a moonless night.
What causes the Northern Lights? When large numbers of high speed electrons from the sun stream towards Earth from space, they are drawn into our magnetic field and, in doing so, collide with the air particles high in the Earth’s atmosphere. The gases of the upper atmosphere involved in these collisions cause the colours of the aurora – yellow-green from oxygen, red from nitrogen, and blue or violet from iodised nitrogen. The colours of the aurora depend on the altitude at which it is produced.
The aurora appears in many forms: patches or scattered light clouds, arcs, streamers, shooting rays of light, and rippling curtains are all possible. These lights typically extend from between eighty and six hundred and fifty kilometres above the surface of the Earth.
Scandi Travel offers the opportunity during a Lapland trip to experience the Northern Lights. Two excursion options are:
- Northern Light Safari: held between December and April, this is a snowmobile safari which departs at 8pm and returns at 11pm. Participants are collected from the Iso Syote hotel and drive through the Arctic wilderness to a campfire for refreshments. Arctic stars and hopefully the aurora will put on a show!
- Aurora Borealis by Adventure: depart Rovaniemi by car and head out into the wilds of Lapland. Walk through the snow to a dark and peaceful spot and await nature’s greatest heavenly show. Enjoy campfire-fried -sausages and, on the way back to town, visit the old Poro-Pekan Pirtti building for a warm Lappish welcome. This tour runs between December and April and is of four hours late-night duration.
Contact us today to book your Northern Lights experience – places fill quickly and this once in a lifetime excursion is not to be missed!