Canada

Northern Lights in the lap of luxury

Northern Lights, Yukon, Canada

Jonathan Porter

One of the best things about the northern hemisphere this time of year is the aurora borealis.

The Southern Lights are no less spectacular, but require weeks on an ageing atomic-powered icebreaker packed with a crew of frustrated Russians, and its summer down there, so back to the Northern Lights.

If your idea of a good time is standing in dry crisp snow on the clear night while charged particles from the heart of our nearest star form magical dancing curtains of light in the sky, then this is something you might quite enjoy.

The best time to see them is when the sky is clear and dark and the sun is active.

And right now – in mid-winter – the sun is getting a bit frisky as it reaches its peak in activity, with sunspots all over his face, many you could comfortably throw Earth into.

Before leaving for the Arctic Circle check with http://www.swpc.noaa.gov, which will give you a rundown on solar activity and auroras.

The lights are funnelled down by the Earth’s magnetic fields and appear as a rough oval around the poles.

Look up, say “aah!” and think on this: every single one of those photons or helium nuclei took 20,000 years to make it from the heart of the sun to its surface and then just eight minutes to cross the void to us.

Yukon/Northwest Territories

In Yukon and Northwest Territories autumn and winter are best to catch the Northern Lights. Stand awestruck at midnight in midwinter as the snow crunches under your boots as coloured curtains of creation crackle above you.

The extended darkness and abundance of crystal clear nights provide plenty of chances to watch the Aurora Borealis at local midnight.

www.travelyukon.com/Explore/Northern-Lights

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