Nature has its way to enthral, the best of which is an annual, naturally occurring dance of lights in the sky known as the Northern Lights. Read on to discover some destinations where you can witness this magic of the universe in its full glory. By Bayar Jain
It’s almost impossible to picture a dark sky streaked with green, yellow, and even red lights gently swaying amid the clouds. The universe, however, creates this spectacle every year. The Northern Lights, also known as Aurora Borealis, occur when solar particles collide with atmospheric gases to produce a neon light. This light show, however, tends to last only for a minute. It’s only when you’ve got luck on your side that this dance could span for a few days. Adding more to the hurdle is the fact that this surreal spectacle is best seen during cold, dark, clear sky winter nights. When you have so many factors to weigh in, it’s best to plan. Here is why we bring you the best spots for some aurora-watching.
1. Fairbanks, Alaska
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Aurora Borealis are best seen in the Aurora Zone of the Northern Hemisphere, and Fairbanks is one of them. Sitting in the auroral oval, the fact that it is closer to the North Pole makes this Alaskan region ideal for the swirling ribbons. Considered a part of inland Arctic, it’s distance from the lit city life, in turn higher probability of dark skies, further strengthens the display. Plus, Fairbanks has its own airport too making travel for us wanderlusts fairly easy!
2. Trosmø, Norway
Like its Alaskan counterpart, Norway’s Trosmø, too, is in the Auroral ring. This Norwegian town is slightly north of the Arctic ring with extreme darkness starting from early afternoon until late morning from September to March. This implies more night-time neon light seeing opportunities. Adding to the glory is the Northern Lights Festival that is held annually here. This 10-day music and performing arts event features everything from singers and ballet dancers to symphonies, all under the surreal sky.
3. All of Iceland
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Pink, purple and green are just few of the many hues that paint the skies of the arctic country from August to April. Geographically, Iceland is a prime spot to witness the Northern Lights, with the vast coastline road around the country facilitating it further. Across the country, sky watchers can take in the dancing lights from outdoor hot tubs and even from natural hot spring lagoons dotted all over the country. If you’re looking to add another element of fun to an already memorable outing, spend the night in a tent or a camper van to chase these wonders.
4. Orkney, Scotland
Known as Mirrie Dancers (or Merry Dancers) in Scotland, the northern lights are brightest in the northern highlands. Orkney, a group of islands, here is ideal to see the neon dance. Located in Scotland’s remote northern coast, this region reveals its charm from October to March. If the solar storm is strong enough then you might even be able to see the light pillars high in the night sky. However, a clear view of the Northern horizon will give you a better chance of seeing the weaker solar storms as well.
5. Yellowknife, Canada
Located on the northern shore of Great Slave Lake, Yellowknife in Canada boasts of winter sports such as ice fishing and cross-country skiing. Adding to this mix is the region’s nickname, the Aurora Capital of North America. Starting January, when temperatures here begin to drop, the world’s most awe-inspiring light shows take centre stage. In fact, so amazing are the views that Yellowknife even has an Aurora Village and activities centering around northern lights tourism.