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Posted 03/01/2023 in Travel and Leisure Articles by

Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis): What Are They & How To See Them?

Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis): What Are They & How To See Them?

Northern lights, also called Aurora Borealis, are mesmerizing, naturally colorful lights formed around the north pole of our planet Earth. You might have heard about these lights or seen their photos shared by some of the finest photographers, but the way it feels to see them with your naked eyes is unmatched and unforgettable. Every year, millions of people from across the world go on northern lights guided tours. If you are also planning to see northern lights but don’t know much about them and how to see them, this article will guide you through.

What Are Northern Lights?

Northern lights are an atmospheric phenomenon that creates colorful, dancing-like light waves, mostly in green, purple, and red color. Looking into its history, ‘Aurora Borealis' was the name given to northern lights by Galileo Galilei (Italian astronomer) in 1619. He named the lights after the names – Aurora (Roman goddess of dawn) and Boreas (Greek god of the north wind). However, the existence of the lights can be dated way back. According to NASA, the aurora is also mentioned in a Chinese report from 193 B.C.

What Causes This Phenomenon?

Northern lights occur when a stream of solar wind (energized particles coming in waves from the sun at high speed) reaches Earth's atmosphere. Earth’s magnetic field protects us from this collision’s negative impact. As a result, these particles travel toward the planet’s poles along the magnetic field, causing mesmerizing, natural lighting pleasing to the eyes and soul. Widely popular northern lights typically occur in the northern hemisphere. However, the same lights also happen in the southern hemisphere, called southern lights or aurora australis.

Where To See Northern Lights?

Northern lights mostly occur within the auroral zone (the belt between the 70° and 65° contours). It is highly advised to go far in the north, typically away from city lights, for maximum visibility and the best experience. Since it can become really challenging to wander around in the Arctic region, choosing destinations like Sweden, Finland, the US, Canada, and others is recommended. If you are in Yellowknife, Canada, you may check our northern lights guided tours packed with the best itinerary.

At What Time Are The Northern Lights Best Visible?

As mentioned above, the northern lights are caused by a natural atmospheric phenomenon; they can occur at any time but can only be seen after dark. They usually occur for a short period of 15 to 30 minutes, and you might see them between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m., provided you don’t fall asleep while waiting.

The Best Way To See Northern Lights

Arranging camps, finding locations, and there’s a lot you need to do on your own, which can become difficult. Instead, you can book a northern lights tour package and enjoy your tour effortlessly without worrying about stay, food, and travel requirements. At Yellowknife Tours, we offer a range of northern lights tour packages at the best prices. Having more than three decades of experience in the tourism industry, we assure you of the best tour experience. So, contact us to book your northern lights tour today. Call at 867-873-4600.

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