The Elusive Aurora Borealis: What Are The Northern Lights And Where Can You Find Them?

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Photo credit: Pixaby

One of the most spellbinding naturally occurring phenomena in the world is the Aurora Borealis. It’s one of those experiences we all talk about seeing and hope that one day we will. There are certain destinations where your chances are much higher, but the lights have even been spotted in the UK at one point. What makes this breathtaking natural light show even more beautiful is that you are never sure when it is going to happen. So, with all elusive things, it becomes even more bewitching and mysterious. Today we’re going to look at what the Aurora Borealis is and where to travel to to up your chances of seeing the lights.

 

What Is The Aurora Borealis?

Understanding the Aurora Borealis takes a little bit of science. The magnificent light show in the sky happens when electrically charged particles collide with gases in the atmosphere such as oxygen and nitrogen. These particles are let loose from the sun, and when they crash with gas, they create a spellbinding show of mesmerizing light in the sky. The spectacular shimmering band of colors range from bright greens and blues to pinks, red and purples. And when you are viewing them. It seems like time stands still. When they occur in the northern hemisphere, they are known as Aurora Borealis. And when they happen in the southern hemisphere they are called Aurora Australis. Aurora was the name of the goddess of the dawn. And Boreas was the name of the god of the north wind. And Auster is the Latin name for southern wind.   The Aurora Borealis, or more commonly the Northern Lights, is one of the most theatrical and beautiful examples of space phenomena.

 

Where Are The Best Places To See The Lights?

 

There is no answer that will definitely guarantee that you will see the Northern Lights. This is because they are a naturally occurring experience that we cannot control. However, there are certain destinations where your chances will be higher. The closer you get to the magnetic poles, the more likely you are to see the lights. In Europe, northern Scandinavia and Iceland are your best bets. The further north you go, the luckier you may be. Out of Europe some of your best chances to see them will occur in Canada and Alaska.

 

Svalbard, Norway

 

In Europe, you can’t get much further north than Svalbard. You’ll be positioned high in altitude and deep into the Arctic Circle, which also heighten your chances of a show-stopping display. The best time to see them here is between November and February.

 

Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

 

Jukkasjärvi in Sweden is another good option to choose as the chances remain high in the winter months. And if you aren’t lucky enough for the Aurora Borealis to make an appearance you can still visit the awesome Esrange Space Centre. Here you’ll get to view Sweden’s incredible clear starry skies.

 

Northern Canada

 

Out of Europe, you can try your luck in northern Canada. Places such as Yukon, Nova Scotia, and British Columbia have all seen what is known as the Aurora Oval and you may just get lucky. If the conditions are right, there is a high chance of seeing them in these places.

 

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