Winter 2013/14 was recently predicted by NASA to be the best time to see the Northern Lights for more than a decade due to a second previously unexpected period of 'solar maximum' now forecast to occur in autumn 2013. This would result in an extension of the spectaular displays of last winter.
The Northern Lights is a common name for the Aurora Borealis ("northern dawn") in the Northern Hemisphere, a natural light display in the sky particularly in the high latitude Arctic region, caused by the collision of energetic charged particles with atoms in the high altitude atmosphere. The charged particles are ejected from the sun in solar wind and, if reaching Earth, are directed by its magnetic field around the atmosphere, where collisions with atoms and molecules give rise to amazing light displays. The type of gas the solar particles collide with affect the colour of the Lights, oxygen giving off a green colour and nitrogen crimson.
The Northern Lights are generally best seen between September and April. Spend a holiday in the right destination and hopefully you'll be in luck - and especially so during 2013/14!
There are two things that obscure or dull the Aurora Borealis; cloud and light pollution. The nearer the Arctic Circle and away from artificial light, the better the chances of visibility. Of course we can't guarantee the brightness of the lights or cloud free skies but we can provide great opportunities to see the Northern Lights with our holidays in Finnish Lapland.
The solar activity cycle of the sun is measured by the number of visible sunspots. More sunspots mean more energy is released into space and the greater and brighter the occurrences of The Northern Lights.
Solar cycles usually take a few years to build, taking between 9 to 14 years for any given solar cycle and on average 11 years to go from one solar maximum (when the sun's magnetic field on the solar equator rotates at a slightly faster pace than at the solar poles) to the next.
The last Solar Maximum was in 2000 and due to "Sunspot 981" which has been growing since its solar minimum in January 2008, NASA scientists have now predicted that the current Solar Cycle which was thought to have reached its peak last winter is now forecast to extend into 2014 with even bigger and brighter displays.
Inghams offers 3 types of holidays during which you might be able to see the Northern Lights.
are available in Finland / Lapland in these resorts:
Saariselka - Located in the north of Lapland close to Russia, Saariselkä has magnificent Arctic wilderness scenery on the doorstep and is an exceptionally friendly uncommercialised resort with a unique frontier atmosphere. Saariselkä skiing is a particularly good choice for beginners and cross country, and visiting Santa too! Ski Holidays in Saariselka >
Yllas - Has stunning unspoiled natural scenery, Finland's longest ski slopes, an excellent network of cross country ski trails and a superb choice of accommodation including idyllic luxury log cabins. The skies this far North are especially clear, ideal for witnessing the magical Northern Lights. Ski Holidays Yllas >
But you don't have to ski to have a Northern Lights holiday!
Finally, you don't have to stay 7 nights to witness the Aurora Borealis!
Holidays to the Northern Lights can also be combined with a visit to Santa, on one of our short breaks to Levi or Yllas.
With plenty of time to take part in optional excursions and activities such as mentioned above, plus opportunities to meet with Santa in his magical workshop (elves and all!) and have dinner with Santa, you'll be able to experience the magic of Lapland and a northern lights holiday in 3 or 4 nights.
For additional information, you may like to view these videos from Visit Finland: