Bucket List Dreams ; The Northern Lights

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Now we are in 2020 I can officially say that next year I will turn 40. It’s certainly a milestone age for a reason and it seems the perfect time to not only look at how far you’ve come, but also to think about where you are going. Or, more specifically, where you would love to go.

As a family, our holiday destinations are evolving – with less of a lean towards package holidays, pools and unlimited drink / buffet options and more of a quest for something unique, less structured and something that gets us closer to nature.

I know for certain that seeing the Northern Lights in a cold and snowy setting would be way up there at the top of our travel bucket list. As two Biologists it’s fair to say experiencing one of the natural wonders before we kick the bucket is a lifelong dream. With young children who are a bit iffy past bedtime perhaps we’d need to wait a couple of years, but with Lapland being a prime Northern Lights spot, perhaps a Festive visit to a certain big guy could be doubled up with a Northern Lights hunt in one. Wouldn’t that just be a family trip of dreams?

Photo of Person Under Night Sky

And we aren’t alone. Scandinavia seems to be rising up there; the middle age Ibiza, the destination that is being lusted after by folk far and wide. So what is it about jetting over to The Aurora, most frequently visible in Northern Scandinavia in a band that stretches between 66°N and 69°N, that has us buzzing to get there.

Aurora Borealis

Aurora Borealis or ‘The Northern Lights’ is a natural phenomenon which occurs in the night sky due to a disturbance in the Earths magnetic field as a result of solar activity.

Aurora Borealis

The Aurora Borealis originates some 93,000,000 miles away on the surface of the Sun with a massive explosion of electromagnetic matter called a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). CME’s usually emanate from the more active areas of the Sun’s surface and they throw a stream of electronically charged solar particles known as Solar Wind into the vastness of space. It is when these particles are directed towards the Earth that we can see the Northern or Southern Lights three or four nights later.

As the Solar Wind approaches the Earth it causes a distortion in our magnetic field and, whilst most of the particles are deflected away from us, some escape into our atmosphere around the magnetic poles. At this point, the “escaped” particles collide with the atoms and molecules that form the gases in our atmosphere and cause them to become “excited”. This is a complicated business but essentially, when an “excited” atom or molecule begins to calm or return to its original state, it emits photon energy in the form of light.

It is the emissions of these photons on a huge scale that causes the Aurora to appear in our night sky.

source: https://www.theaurorazone.com/

Of course getting to a Northern Light sighting spot is only half the battle – if you are really serious about sighting the Aurora, timing, location and destination is everything.

Sadly, for many visitors, it’s a case of getting lucky in any given moment, but for the serious aurora hunters, there are plenty of aurora stalking tips online at The Aurora Zone.

There are of course many places in the Northern Scandinavian range in which it is possible to see the Northern lights – Finland, Norway, Iceland, Canada, Sweden…the possibilities go way beyond the obvious.

Aurora Borealis

What strikes me when I have researched the travel options is the variation in cost, options and advice out there. These things are of course of utmost prevalence when travelling with children, when roughing it, winging it, or bodging it is frankly not an option. That is why should I ever consider making our dream a reality, I would be heading straight for The Aurora Zone; the only UK based Aurora experts who are able to advise on tours, geographical locations, accommodation and everything you need to make your trip a success.

Aurora Borealis

Apart from, of course guaranteeing you’ll see the Northern Lights – if only it were that simple.

The guys can however get you as close as anyone can to it with their six step plan on making the possibility as hopeful as is possible…They will advise you on

  1. Avoiding light pollution
  2. Local expertise and guides
  3. The Kp Index & the Auroral Zone
  4. Alerts & Innovations
  5. Mobility – Escape the Aurora-obscuring cloud cover
  6. Aurora Borealis holiday to suit all tastes

I don’t know when we’ll make it to try and see the Northern Lights – and I don’t know if we would see them when we got there. Butboy would I LOVE to try.

Aurora Borealis

There is just something so magical about the idea of travelling to a frozen snowscape, embracing the change in climate and heading out to experience the winter wonders that we have only ever seen before in photos. And maybe, just maybe, we could be one of the lucky ones.

After all, with a little positive mindset and a lot of wishing on stars, wouldn’t it be amazing if the planets literally aligned, and our dreams came true right before our eyes.

x MMT

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