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Aurora Borealis, anyone?

Travel Forums General Talk Aurora Borealis, anyone?

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1. Posted by tway (Travel Guru, 7274 posts) 7 Jun '06 13:35

Last weekend I was watching a travel program about a 3-day tour to see the Aurora Borealis phenomenon in the Yukon. Small groups of tourists were driven out every night to watch the light show, complete with winter-wear, heated chairs, hot drinks, local guides, and lots of picture-taking. The phenomenon can't be filmed, but the still shots looked amazing.

Suddenly, the Yukon has climbed into my top 5 places to see - bar the absolutely extravagant price to get there and stay there for just a few days.

Has anyone seen the northern lights in person, anywhere in the world? Is it something you'd recommend - or something you've been wishing to see?

2. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru, 2634 posts) 7 Jun '06 16:32

Certainly you can probably do it a lot cheaper than any tour presented on a TV show. Anywhere northish in Canada is good as long as there isn't much in the way of light pollution. For example, here's a guy who got some snaps just outside of Quebec City: PICTURES, and also some info on how to predict when they are going to occur.

I'ver personally never seen them, but would like to, for sure.

3. Posted by bluntstar (Budding Member, 10 posts) 7 Jun '06 19:13

I live in Toronto and one time while out camping about 200-300km north west from toronto we noticed something happening in the sky. Sure enough it was the onset of the Northern Lights. It started of slow with light flashes and slowly turned into big colorfull rings flashing across the sky, 'Pulsating' is the word I would use. It lasted about 40m and I was trully blown away, something so amazing must be seen with own eyes,very magical, almost like a dream.

I remember talking to a man afterwards who said that he has seen it many times and he said the one we just witnessed was small when compared to the ones he has seen in the past. Never the less I was really impressed. Now looking at the pictures from the site GregW has posted I admit that the one I saw was light compared to the ones on the pictures. But like I said it was an amazing experience. I can only imagine what a full blown Aurora Borealis looks like, for that i think one needs to go a bit more north.

[ Edit: Edited at Jun 7, 2006 7:18 PM by bluntstar ]

4. Posted by moutallica (Respected Member, 122 posts) 7 Jun '06 21:24

I saw them when I was living in Lake Louise (Banff). It happened every once in a while during that summer, but there was a few days in particular that it was just amazing. A solar storm or something was causing them to be extra strong.

Sitting outside for hours just watching this. Beautiful colours. And even so, there were people that said they've seen much nicer ones before, not that it mattered to me.

Of course, you don't need to go as far north as the Yukon, however, it probably does get better. My parents even say that they once got to see them from Vancouver (when I had just been born).

5. Posted by angela_ (Respected Member, 1732 posts) 8 Jun '06 04:53

I've seen the Northen Lights a few times in my back yard and just out of my window. If it's cold enough it is very likely you will see them anywhere in Iceland, except in very well lit places like large towns and cities.

6. Posted by Isadora (Moderator, 13924 posts) 8 Jun '06 10:50

This is what they saw for about 1 minute, last night, in Winnipeg:
www.spaceweather.com
Aurora Gallery

I've seen three auroras. The first in upper Michigan while camping. It lasted for about 3 hours and was gorgeous. The colors were like a rainbow, alternating back and forth. The second and third were from our own yard (rural northern Illinois) last year. They were the first for Beerman. One lit the sky with bright reds and pinks in undulating streaks. We watched for over an hour as it faded away. The other had no mix of colors, but rather streaks of white that looked as though they were being "shot" out of a rough sphere just above the horizon. They "shot" in every direction and it was just as amazing.

[ Edit: Edited text. ]

7. Posted by beerman (Moderator, 1631 posts) 9 Jun '06 05:24

The Spaceweather website is what I use to get info...they're pretty accurate. The North Magnetic Pole must be tilted at just the right angle, followed by Solar Ejecta (sounds dirty, doesn't it?) aimed at Earth. Winter months are usually the best for auroras....if you can stay outside at 2am!!!!

The website also has a chart showing how close many of the 600-some odd "Near Earth Asteroids" will pass to us, and how big they are.....always reminds me of "Armageddon".....but interesting nonetheless.

Keep looking up!!!

8. Posted by SeeTheSky (Respected Member, 557 posts) 9 Jun '06 19:13

is there a seasonal time when aurora borealis happens, or is it dependent on the solar flares, and all that jazz? im curious...

9. Posted by Q' (Moderator, 1987 posts) 9 Jun '06 20:21

The Yukon is beautiful for its own reasons, not the least of which is the Aurora.

I've never seen the Aurora, but I've had friends who've seen it just a short 100km north of where I live. It's a luck thing. I've been outdoors many times, and I've been to the Yukon and never seen it.

10. Posted by tway (Travel Guru, 7274 posts) 10 Jun '06 06:02

Quoting SeeTheSky

is there a seasonal time when aurora borealis happens, or is it dependent on the solar flares, and all that jazz? im curious...

From what little I've read, it seems to be most prominent in the winter months. I assume that has something to do with the tilt of the earth - or perhaps the long winter nights. The Aurora Borealis packages to the Yukon were only offred in the winter, anyway.