The Aurora Zone

The Aurora Zone predicts the autumn equinox to be a top time to see the Northern Lights

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March has witnessed some of the best Northern Lights activity in recent years and, according to experts at The Aurora Zone, this is not coincidental. Scientific research strongly points to increased geomagnetic activity in the weeks around the spring and autumn equinoxes. On that basis, The Aurora Zone believes that the coming autumn could witness equally spectacular displays.

The claim is certainly not without substance. Solar Physicist, Dr David Hathaway, at NASA’s Marshall Space Flights Center analysed 75 years of historical records. He concluded that geomagnetic disturbances are almost twice as likely around the spring and autumn equinoxes than they are around the winter and summer solstices.

Aurora Zone

The weeks around the equinoxes – which this year fall on 20 March and 23 September – cause ‘equinox cracks’ to appear in the Earth’s magnetic field. These ‘cracks’ are caused by our planet’s tilt and the interaction between its magnetic field and those of other planets. These factors serve to funnel solar wind towards the Earth resulting in greater geomagnetic activity and increased Auroral displays.

Alistair McLean, Managing Director of The Aurora Zone, the original Northern Lights holiday company, explains that this was particularly apparent around the recent spring equinox. He says:

“March 2018 has been a fabulous month for Auroral activity and only serves to strengthen the argument that the spring and autumn equinoxes enhance the chances of seeing the Northern Lights.”

Aurora Zone
Photo: Matt Robinson

Increased Northern Lights activity has led McLean and his team at The Aurora Zone to believe that autumn 2018 could be a great time to see the Northern Lights. He continues:

“September and October are often overlooked as times to travel in search of the Aurora Borealis, but with geomagnetic activity likely to be at its peak around the autumn equinox, the chances of seeing the Northern Lights during these months are extremely good.”

The increased Auroral activity is not the only reason to take a Northern Lights trip in autumn. Less cloud cover makes sightings easier, the burnished seasonal colours provide a stunning backdrop, temperate weather results in more comfortable Aurora hunting conditions and lakes and rivers, which have not yet frozen, often reflect the Aurora in their glassy surfaces for double the effect.

An example of such a trip is Wilderness Auroras during the Finnish Autumn, which features Menesjärvi in Finnish Lapland as its magical setting. Daytime activities provide ample opportunities to experience Finnish ‘ruska’, the time of year when the leaves turn to rust. Included are a visit to a reindeer farm, a guided nature walk and a trip to meet excitable huskies at a neighbouring farm.

Menesjarvi’s isolated wilderness setting is ideal for Aurora hunting. Far removed from any significant light pollution, the location is blessed with some of the darkest skies in Northern Scandinavia. The itinerary features a Northern Lights workshop which includes valuable tips on Aurora photography techniques. Guests will venture into the wilderness on two Aurora hunts in the company of an expert guide who will determine the best vantage points should an Aurora emerge from the darkness. To see the sky ablaze with swirling light which is also reflected in the calm ink-black water of Lake Menesjärvi is a sight that will live long in the memory.

Priced from £1,495 pp (two sharing), this four-night trip includes flights (London), transfers, four nights’ full board, activities listed and expert guides. Departures throughout September and October 2018.

To book, or to speak to an expert, please call The Aurora Zone on 01670 785012 (www.theaurorazone.com).

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