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Visiting The Northern Lights

Not only have we welcomed in a new year, but we have also entered in to what's known as the 'Solar Max' period - a sunspot activity peak! It is said that 2013 will be the best time to visit and experience the breath-taking sights of the Northern Lights in 50 years, so make sure you don't miss out!

HOW THE COLOURS ARE MADE

The Northern Lights are made when the Earth's gaseous particles collide with those charged by the sun's atmosphere. A high amount of oxygen produces green and yellow light; whereas a high amount of nitrogen will produce red, violet, and occasionally blue light. In low altitudes, the violet usually forms a 'border' around the most common colours (yellow and green).

The rarest aurora is a beautiful red colour, which is produced by oxygen at a high altitude.

The Northern Lights can either have movement or appear to be dancing across the night sky, or be static with limited activity. Minimum solar flares produce one colour that is static, whereas an increase in movement activity and a wide array of colour is produced when the solar flares are at their strongest.

WHERE TO SEE

The Northern Lights can be seen in countries that sit within the Auroral Oval, or Arctic Circle - Iceland, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Canada. Other countries such as Alaska are perfect for viewing, but these are the easiest to get to.

WHEN TO SEE

The Northern Lights can be seen all year round, but March and April held the best chances of viewing the lights in 2012. Cold skies, a high air pressure, no other sources of light and a low moon are the main essential ingredients for a successful viewing.

The sun's light interferes with the aurora and can be seen from 5pm to 2am but is at its peak during the night between 10pm and 1am.

CHECKING THE AURORA FORECAST

To make the most of your trip, the aurora forecast can be checked beforehand at: http://www.gi.alaska.edu/AuroraForecast

If you are intending to take part in any Winter sports during your trip, make sure you have travel insurance! Choose from our Single Trip, Multi Trip, Longstay or Wintersports policies!

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