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  #1  
Old 29 Sep 2009
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Northern Lights!!!??

Hi there..

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to see the Northern Lights.... even if it means leaving the bike at home!?
Would like to see it this winter but have had a few near heart attacks with the costs of hotels etc.
Cheers
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Old 29 Sep 2009
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The Aurora Borealis? Anywhere north of the Polar Circle in, say, January. Actually the Aurora B. is there all year round but - obviously - you need a dark sky to see the spectacle properly. The northern parts of Norway is good as you may find good spots away from the city lights relatively near the cities. Or towns, rather. Besides, Norway north of the Polar Circle is totally void of sunlight almost all day at least from mid December to mid January (depending on how far north you go), so you have more chances to see this wonderful sight. I don't know where you live with regard to distance to an appropriate airport, but a flight to Tromsø is one option.

Here's a pic of the Aurora B over Tromsø one night:



If Norway is too far away - geographically or cost-wise - you will see the Aurora B. just as well in a zone around the Magnetic North Pole in a distance of approx. 1000 miles. The zone includes the Northern parts of Scandinavia, Iceland, the southern parts of Greenland, the Northern parts of Canada, Alaska and the Northern coast of Sibiria.
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Old 29 Sep 2009
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If you are living in Great Britain, as your locater seems to suggest, you should not have to travel very far to see aurora borealis. The phenomenon exists and is visible far south of the arctic circle - if you have clear night sky without the light pollution of cities and towns which obliterate them and the long cold dark night of a winter day. And of course the ionosperic conditions have to be right with a lot of solar wind coming in.
My suggestion is to study up a bit on the science behind it and find some locale in winter wher there is a good chance of clear dark sky.
Find out when a period of very active solar flares is expected which is responsible for creating the lights . Then take a trip to the locality you picked and wait.
I live at about 45 degrees north lat in Canada and there are some nights in winter when there are great shows , many more times it i s noticeable as just the blue,green , pink curtains .
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  #4  
Old 29 Sep 2009
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hey orrin. try the top of scotland, a bit of googleing shows the lights are visable there too.
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Old 30 Sep 2009
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I seem to remember reading that the lights are also on (roughly) and eleven year cycle from max to min and back to max again, the last peak was about 2002 so the next peak will be around 2013(ish) - That said it still depends on atmospheric conditions being right, but at least the activity of them should be getting stronger and stronger.
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Old 30 Sep 2009
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The sunspot activity has been strangely low over the last few years and has not followed the usual increase.



This will have an effect on how far south you will be able to see the AB. I would say that Tromso is your best bet for a good show but you require clear skies so even if you are there for a week there is no guarantee.

Contact Tromso university to see if they have accommodation available or maybe hostels. Hotels are a crazy amount a night as you have found out.

It's on my list of things to do as well. Good luck.
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  #7  
Old 30 Sep 2009
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Have you considered seeing them from a boat?

Northern Lights Classic Cruises - Hurtigruten UK
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  #8  
Old 8 Oct 2009
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I have seen them from West Wales under the right conditions, not as spectacular as further North but better than never seeing them.
Stewart
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