The Northern Lights—or the Aurora Borealis—have been fascinating us since our ancient ancestors first came to Europe. The indigenous Sámi of northern Scandinavia called them ‘Guovssahas’, which generally means “lights that can be heard”. The Vikings thought that they were caused by reflections of heavenly light off the armor of Valkyrie warrior maidens. The sheer scale and beauty of the Aurora Borealis have been enthralling man since before recorded history, and they continue to do so today.
If you’ve been lucky enough to experience the Northern Lights, then you understand the Sámi reference to their having sound. When a strong display of Northern Lights happens you can hear and feel an almost otherworldly presence similar to the sound made by high voltage power lines—and yet so much more encompassing: picture fireworks that span hundreds of miles and dance across the sky so fast you can hardly comprehend it. That’s what I’m talking about!
We’ve seen the Aurora Borealis many times in many places, and each time they leave us thrilled, moved, and energized for more. When you see the majesty of this light show, we know you’ll feel amazed and uplifted too!
Each display of the Northern Lights is unique. Sometimes they tread the sky in green bands, sometimes they caress it like glowing smoke, and sometimes they’re brilliant, giant, gossamer dancers in the sky. A strong display will actually produce enough light to read a newspaper by!
Contrary to their name, the Northern Lights don’t occur only in the north. It is, however, a lot easier to get to Norway, Iceland, Sweden or Finland than it is to reach Antarctica, where you can see the “Southern Lights”, or Aurora Autralis. In both cases, the sun is the power source for nature’s grandest light show.
High energy particles, or ions, are thrown out by the sun and hit Earth’s magnetic field. They’re then guided to either the north or south polar regions, where they accelerate towards Earth. Collisions between the charged ions and the atoms of our atmosphere release energy, which we see as light. Depending on the type of atoms being hit and the altitude of the aurora above the Earth, you might see red, green, yellow, pink, or blue lights.
Green is the most common color, with blue lights being seen only when the solar output is more intense. As with stargazing, a clear night with less moonlight will increase the likelihood of seeing the Northern Lights, but if you are lucky enough to catch a particularly intense display, you’ll find it impossible to miss—even if you're in a small city with street lights.
Depending on when and where you want to go, we can provide you with an itinerary that increases your chance of seeing the most magnificent of nature’s light shows. There are preferred seasons and regions for hunting for them, so be sure to ask us. We have specific packages tailored to those with the Aurora Borealis on their bucket list or for those who simply want to experience them over and over. Once seen, you’ll never forget them!