But this was not always the case. And, before there was a logical scientific explanation, the northern lights were equated with magic and mysticism. Scandinavian Travel Group will tell you about all the main interpretations of the phenomenon and share the best ways to see the northern lights:
1. Legends of the northern lights
2. What is aurora borealis?
3. Aurora's scientific explanation
4. When can you see the Northern Lights?
5. The best way to photograph the northern lights
6. How do you hunt for Aurora in Lapland?
Here you will find answers to all these questions as well as useful tips on hunting for aurora.
#1. Legends of the northern lights
Of course, such a phenomenon as the Aurora could not have gone unnoticed by our distant ancestors. But as no one could explain its origin, the phenomenon of the northern lights was surrounded by various legends and fictions. Below you will find 8 examples of some of them.
- In medieval Europe, it was believed to be a battle to which warriors who died in battle were eternally doomed.
- The Finns believed that the colorful ribbons in the sky were a river connecting the world of mere mortals and the home of the gods, or the world of the living and the dead. The phenomenon was considered a good omen. It was an omen of bountiful harvests, good weather and meant that the gods were favorable to people.
- The Scandinavians associated the northern lights with the glow of the Valkyries' armor, but they also believed that their appearance foretold bad weather.
- The Eskimo tribes believed that this was light emitted by the souls of the dead on their way to heaven.
- In ancient times, people perceived the northern lights as a harbinger of disaster (epidemics, famine and war), or as punishment or revenge on the gods.
- According to the most widespread belief among northern peoples, this light effect is created by a fox running across the Lapland hills, whipping at the snow with its sparkling tail.
- Researchers have come a little closer to the solution, proposing the theory that the northern lights are caused by the reflection of light from the ice caps.
- Galileo Galilei named the phenomenon Aurora after the Roman goddess of the morning, after concluding that it results from the refraction of sunlight in the atmosphere.
#2. What is aurora borealis?
Aurora Borealis is a natural phenomenon occurring in the upper atmosphere as a result of the interaction between the Earth's magnetic field, its atmosphere and the so-called "solar wind".
When seen from the surface of the Earth Aurora Borealis appears as a general rapidly changing glow of the sky or moving rays, bands, crowns and "curtains". Duration of auroras ranges from tens of minutes to several days.
The spectrum of northern lights changes with altitude. The most common form of northern lights is bands or spots, similar to clouds. A more intense glow takes the form of a ribbon, resembling a huge theatrical curtain in the sky.
#3. Aurora's scientific explanationThe Aurora is a phenomenon of glow from the Earth's upper atmosphere caused by the movement of charged solar wind particles in the planet's magnetic field. When energetic particles of the plasma layer collide with the upper atmosphere, the atoms and molecules of the gases that make up it move in an enhanced motion. The emission of such atoms in the visible range is observed as aurora borealis.
Auroras in the northern and southern hemispheres were thought to be symmetrical. However, the simultaneous observation of auroras in May 2001 from space from the north and south poles showed that the northern and southern lights are significantly different from each other. In 2016, a new type of aurora borealis was discovered: violet. They were named STEVE (Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement for short).
Auroras are usually observed in the so-called auroral zones (auroral belts), which are located at high latitudes as they surround the Earth's magnetic poles. We know these places in Lapland, and we invite you to come along on a trip for this natural wonder and have a great time with aurora hunters and an amazing storyteller Polarman in his cozy camp.
Learn more about our unique tours:
#4. When can you see the Northern Lights?
The Northern Lights appear in the night sky typically in the late evening and illuminate everything around you with their magical light. In Lapland, you can see the northern lights from November to February. Do you want to see the Aurora in Lapland in winter? Then book our incredible winter tour in advance!
#5. The best way to photograph the northern lights
1. The camera itself. It is best to use a camera with interchangeable optics, but in principle any camera will do. The larger the sensor size, the less grainy the photos will be.
2. Extra batteries. Thermal energy sources lose their charge very quickly in freezing temperatures, so make sure you have extra batteries. It is best to store them close to your body, in a warm place.
3. Remote shutter release. It is advisable to use a shutter release cord to reduce camera vibration as the shutter speed is faster for photography.
4. Given the previous tips, you'll also need a stable tripod for your camera.
5. For advanced photographers: A wide-angle lens with a focal length of 10 to 24 mm is desirable.
6. And don't underestimate the Lapland frost by any means. Prepare for the wait, stock up on patience and warm drinks and, most importantly, dress as warmly as possible. If you'll be hunting the Aurora with Scandinavian Travel Group, a cozy dome with a fireplace, warm clothes, hot drinks and snacks will be provided.
#6. How do you hunt for Aurora in Lapland?
Not far from the resort of Levi in Lapland are hidden great spots to see the Northern Lights, as they are 170 km above the Arctic Circle. And, as you know, the higher above the Arctic Circle, the more likely you are to see this magical aurora borealis.
Nevertheless, it is difficult to predict the exact appearance of the northern lights, but in most cases it is possible. That's why we offer winter northern lights hunting tours in our exclusive locations near the resort of Levi, taking into account weather forecasts and predictions for the appearance of the aurora borealis.
It must be remembered that there are several main conditions for observing the Aurora:
- Dark cloudless skies without precipitation;
- A minimum of artificial light;
- Frosty weather.
When weather conditions are favorable, the following locations are best for observation:
- Open flat areas
- Ice-covered lakes
- Highlands and mountains
Hunt for northern lights in Lapland with Scandinavian Travel Group
Our exclusive location is close to the famous Lapland resort of Levi:
- Absent the hustle and bustle of tourism,
- Unobstructed view of the northern horizon
- Almost 360° view of the sky
- Minimal light pollution
- Warm shelter dome
Our Polarman camp has it all!
You will be greeted by Polarman, our narrator, who will be your guide to the mysterious world of the Aurora hunters. You'll make yourself comfortable on reindeer skins around an open fire in the company of other northern lights trappers. After spending some time outdoors, you can warm up pleasantly in our Aurora Dome.
The temperature of the dome is kept at +10 degrees and above. You can warm yourself by the fireplace and hear some interesting stories and legends about this natural phenomenon. And our observer guide will keep a constant eye on the sky to invite you outside at just the right moment to enjoy the spectacular display of Arctic nature.
If you wish, we will take videos and photos of the glow with you. If you get cold during our program, you can always warm up inside the dome with a glass of hot berry juice or a magic drink with ginger biscuits. And the children of our dear guests usually enjoy roasting marshmallows on the fire. You can also roast sausages if you wish.
To hunt for the northern lights in comfort and enjoy your holiday in the resort of Levi, simply contact the manager of Scandinavian Travel Group to arrange our unique tour or book online. Find out more about our amazing northern lights tours:
ARE YOU TRAVELLING WITH YOUR FAMILY?Ideas and family activities in Levi and Rovaniemi: check out more offers on our family programs.
- Snowmobile Safari
- Husky Kennel & Husky Safari
- Reindeer Safari
- Snow Village Lapland
- Santa Claus in a Secret Hideaway
- Santa’s Cabin in Levi
- Build Your Own Snow Igloo in Levi Igloo Park
Would you like a personalised tour? Then contact our manager directly using the contact details on the website.
This article contains photos used with permission from ©Fenix.info.