Between late September and late March, Northern Norway is dark from early afternoon until late morning, and the northern lights frequently soar across the sky. Our bold claim is that this part of Norway, with its multiple islands, deep fjords and steep mountains, is among the most beautiful and interesting places to see the northern lights.
As hundreds of thousands of people live in this huge geographical area, the region of Northern Norway has everything from cities with a lively night scene and great museums to small fishing villages and vast, tranquil spaces without light pollution.
This means that in addition to hunting for the northern lights, you can go winter fishing, hiking, skiing, and dog sledding, experience the Sami culture, or join a whale or wildlife safari. Afterwards, you can relax in top-notch hotels and eat incredible local food. Or maybe you’ve joined a northern lights safari and get to eat your meal in a traditional lavvo?
So, what are the northern lights? On a very basic level, the phenomenon is quite simple to explain. It is created from a collision between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the atmosphere of the earth.
The lights, which are also called aurora borealis, show up at night when the sky is dark. It’s like a celestial ballet of light dancing across the night sky, with a colour palette of green, blue, and sometimes even pink and violet.
But even though you can’t take the lights for granted – it is, after all, a natural phenomenon, just like the weather – you are still guaranteed to experience magical light in Northern Norway all through the polar night. On clear days, you can see beautiful sunset colours in the south while the sky to the north is a deep midnight blue. In “the blue hour” at twilight, the snowy landscape is bathed in a glassy, deep blue colour. And even if the Auroras don´t dance, experiencing the starry, limitless sky can make you reconnect with the universe...
The aurora borealis can be seen when the sky is clear and dark, and the optimal conditions are usually when the weather is cold and dry. Then, you just have to cross your fingers for a sun storm, sending out some magical particles in your direction....
1. The light show appears when charged particles from the sun are dragged into the atmosphere by the earth’s magnetic field and collide with nitrogen and oxygen atoms. This collision releases flashes of coloured lights – which we see as the northern lights.
2. The colour of the light depends on the type of atoms involved in the collision.
3. Aurora borealis isn’t the only light show the universe offers. The southern hemisphere has its own version called aurora australis – the southern lights.
Curious to know more? Read up on the facts and fiction about the northern lights.
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