December 21, 2018 | The Aurora Zone
Nangu in Finnish Lapland is prime Aurora hunting territory and, according to experts, could be in for a Twixmas treat. The Northern Lights are expected to be particularly prevalent between Christmas and New Year, with 28th – 30th December singled out as key dates when the Aurora is predicted to make an appearance.
According to Alistair McLean, Managing Director of The Aurora Zone: “Forecasting the Northern Lights is notoriously difficult; however, we’ve had a bit of help lately. There has been a Coronal Hole* on the surface of the sun for several months now and every time it is earth-facing (every 27 days) it has produced high speed streams of solar wind which have collided with the gases in our atmosphere to cause the Aurora to appear.
“Currently on the far side of the sun, we can’t be sure that it is still stable but, if it is, then we could very well experience enhanced geomagnetic activity around 28/29/30 December 2018. The lights may be visible on a wider scale around those dates, expanding out of the normal visible area that we call the Aurora Zone, to places like Northern Scotland, bringing some cheer to the closing days of 2018.
“There may even be a second Coronal Hole, a few days behind, which might light up the skies early in the New Year, too. As ever, there are no guarantees, but a New Year sandwiched by Northern Lights displays would be certainly something special to behold.”
The pristine lakeside setting and the snowy forest that surround Nangu’s Wilderness Hotel are quintessential Lapland territory. By day, explore the winter landscapes by snowmobile, snowshoe and dog sled, and visit a reindeer farm. The evenings will be taken up with Aurora hunting in true Lappish wilderness – 250km north of the Arctic Circle. The three-night Nangu – Post-Christmas Auroras trip is priced from £1,920 pp (two sharing), including flights (London), transfers, three-nights’ full-board accommodation, guided activities, Aurora Alert and cold weather clothing. Departs 27 December. Call The Aurora Zone on 01670 785 012 (www.theaurorazone.com).
* Coronal Holes: As we enter the period of the Solar Cycle when the Sun’s activity wanes, it might be expected that Auroral displays would become fewer and less frequent. Fortunately, thanks to Coronal Holes, that is not the case. Even during the deepest trough in solar activity, Coronal Holes ensure that the Northern Lights still appear regularly in the skies just north of the Arctic Circle.
Coronal Holes are regions of the Sun that are less dense and cooler than the plasma that surrounds them. Importantly, according to the Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado, they are regions of “open, unipolar magnetic fields” which allow high-speed streams of solar wind to escape into space. When these solar winds are directed towards the Earth, the particles collide with the gases in our atmosphere, creating energy which manifests itself as the Northern Lights. For more information about Coronal Holes, head to The Aurora Zone’s Northern Lights science pages.