馬來西亞的故鄉情。中國的中華情。臺灣的本土情

Northern Lights – Aurora


The Aurora Borealis over the town of Longyearbyen, Norway. (John McConnico/Associated Press)

Aurora expert Mike Kosch explains why this year should be an ideal time to see the Northern Lights, and narrows down the top viewing destinations.

What are the Northern Lights?
Auroras are caused by charged particles getting trapped in the Earth’s magnetic field lines, which come out of the top of the North and the South Poles. The light we see is particles blown from the sun bashing into the atmosphere and energising the oxygen and nitrogen that is present. The green and red colours are oxygen, while the blue colours are essentially nitrogen.

Why will 2012 be a good year to see the aurora?
The sun has a cycle around 12 years long, during which the number of sunspots – dark areas indicating intense magnetic activity – go up and down. More sunspots mean more particles being ejected and trapped in the Earth’s magnetic field, and thus more aurora activity. Solar maximum – when the number of sunspots is at its peak – is predicted to be in the next couple of years, which means we are in a very good position to be viewing auroras.

Where’s the best place in the north to see auroras?
The “auroral oval” is a ring-shaped region around 70 degrees latitude north, where auroras occur virtually on a daily basis, and includes Tromsø in Norway, Kiruna in Sweden and Rovaniemi in Finland. Canada and Alaska are also good. It is possible to see the aurora in the UK too: the further north, the better. The more exciting auroras are seen in higher latitudes, where the structures and colours are more beautiful. In the UK, they are likely to be diffuse, uniform glows on the northern horizon.

How can you know when there is auroral activity?
Auroras make no sound, so unless you’re alert, you’ll miss them. In 2003 there was a magnetic storm, one of the largest ever. Most of Europe would have seen it had they looked. We set up AuroraWatch, so people can be alerted to magnetic activity.

Three places to see the Northern Lights

Tromsø, Norway
Norway’s most northerly city enjoys an energetic social scene, and is one of the best places in the world to see auroras, with a Northern Lights festival each January.
Stay: 
Clarion Hotel Bryggen is by the harbour, and has a rooftop whirlpool bath, too (from £120).
How to get there: Fly to Tromsø from Manchester and Heathrow, via Oslo (from £240)

Lunan Bay, Scotland
With the sun in a more active phase, it’s increasingly likely that northeast Scotland, including beautiful Lunan Bay just north of Dundee, will see Northern Lights displays.
Stay: 
The food at Gordon’s is highly rated, as are the five rooms. Lunan beach is two miles away (£90)
How to get there:  
Nearby Montrose is nearly two hours by train from Edinburgh (from £12).

Kiruna, Sweden
A history of mining makes Kiruna more gritty than pretty, but its northerly position means it’s a great place to see auroras. The Jukkasjärvi Ice Hotel is a few miles away.
Stay: Hotel Vinterpalatset has pretty rooms, and the game breakfasts verge on the decadent (from £95). 
How to get there:
 Fly to Kiruna from Heathrow and Edinburgh via Stockholm (from £250).

Professor Mike Kosch is an experimental space scientist at the University of Lancaster.

資料來源:1

10 responses

  1. In March of 2001 my family traveled to Alaska and one of our goals was to view the Aurora while we were there. It was overcast for most of our visit and even though we went to an observation station on a night when it was expected to be visible, we didn’t see it. My husband went out at around 2a.m. our last night there near Chena Hot Springs to the edge of nowhere and he did catch some rather grainy shots of it with a timed exposure.
    Thanks for sharing. It brought back a nice memory of our family trip.

    January 20, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    • wow!!!~ great !
      the Aurora is like a dream when saw it,
      you are so fortune ^^

      January 21, 2012 at 12:07 pm

  2. I would love to see the Northern Lights one day – they look so beautiful in photos. Thanks for the tips!

    January 20, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    • Thank you, I love Aurora so much !
      it is the beautiful of nature

      January 21, 2012 at 12:06 pm

  3. yah this is year is the best time for see the aurora..so next target is to see aurora😛 hehehehhe..

    January 21, 2012 at 4:09 am

    • hope one day we can see Aurora together, because in Malaysia and Indonesia don’t have Aurora

      January 21, 2012 at 12:11 pm

  4. hope so😉

    January 21, 2012 at 2:42 pm

  5. Wow the Northern Lights are so beautiful… Thanks for the post, and especially the infomation on sun spot cycles – I had heard of them before but hadn’t actually understood what they are so cheers.🙂

    Also thanks for liking my post on positive media. xxx

    January 23, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    • yes, we love the nothern lighths so much

      January 23, 2012 at 2:46 pm

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