6 Things Most People Don't Know About The Northern Lights

6 Things Most People Don't Know About The Northern Lights

6 Things Most People Don't Know About The Northern Lights

27 June 2018

The Northern Lights are one of the most spectacular phenomena in the world. Swirling green, purple, pink and yellow colours dancing in the brilliant night sky have sparked countless legends and kicked off more than a few adventures. But when it comes to seeing the elusive Northern Lights, there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. Take a look at these need-to-know tips before setting off on your epic journey.

1.The Northern Lights aren’t always on display

Also known as the Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights are most visible during the winter months (from September to March). But even then, they may not be visible for days or even weeks. It depends on a number of conditions including the weather, cloud cover, light pollution and the number of solar flares being released by the sun. Plus, the lights can sometimes appear as a white/grey colour, which could make them harder to spot. Dark, clear nights between 6pm and 6am are the best.

2.It’s about the journey, not the destination

While the dazzling Northern Lights might be the inspiration for your trip, it shouldn’t be the only thing you look forward to. There are plenty of amazing experiences to be had on your trip north of the Polar Circle, so be sure not to miss out on exciting day trips and on-land excursions. Go glacier hiking up icy, steep peaks or strap on some cross-country skis. Hop on a snowmobile and scout for polar bears. And mush some huskies on a dogsledding race.

3.The weather will take you by surprise

In the Arctic, there’s no such thing as a reliable weather prediction. One moment the sky is bright and sunny, the next there’s a snowstorm on the way. So don’t be discouraged if you wake up and the weather is cloudy and not good for viewing. It could easily have cleared by sunset. But that goes the other way too. Also, be sure to wear plenty of layers so you can add and remove them as the temperature changes.

4.Keep your eyes on the north

Even though you’re already in the northern parts of the world, it doesn’t mean the lights will appear anywhere in the sky. In fact, you’re most likely to catch your first glimpse when gazing in a northerly direction. So check your compass or ask a local to get your bearings.

5.Patience is a virtue

The Northern Lights are notoriously unpredictable, and can be visible for anything from a few minutes to a few hours. So be patient. Snuggle up in your warmest winter gear, grab some hot cocoa and hunker down for the night. If you really need your beauty sleep, go to bed but set your alarm every hour to make sure you don’t miss out. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so well worth the effort!

6.Capture the moment

When you’re lucky enough to catch a glimpse of this rare phenomenon, you’re likely to be mesmerised and not able to do much more than stare in wonder. But if you’re desperate to capture the moment on camera, there are a few things you might want to consider. You don’t need a fancy camera (but a camera phone isn’t quite up to scratch). A tripod is a must-have – if you can’t bring one yourself, see if you can rent one nearby. Be sure to add some context to your shot by incorporating some of the surrounding landscape for scale.

The elusive Northern Lights are ready and waiting to be discovered. Start your amazing journey to cruise to the northern lights here.

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