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Experience the Northern Lights with HI Norway

Experience the Northern Lights with HI Norway

2 September, 2015

To experience the Northern Lights is fascinating! It is a natural phenomenon that is incredibly beautiful – and it has many myths attached to it. Imagine calm, blue-black winter night where the colors flame across the sky. Bright colors of yellow, green, blue and purple!

The Northern Lights are most strongly seen in dark and clear weather. As the name indicates, it is particularly related to The Polar Regions. It occurs most frequently in a belt around the magnetic pole at a distance of approximately 2 500 km from it. Although the Northern Lights can be seen over large parts of Norway, it is on the coast of the regions Troms and Finnmark that the Northern Lights occurs most frequently and strongest.

What are the Northern Lights? The Northern Lights occur when large amounts of electrically charged particles at high speed are coming towards the Earth along the magnetic field and collide with the upper layers of the atmosphere. The gas will then be lit. The colors reflect those gases that are up there. The yellow-green color reflects oxygen, which the color red does as well. The color violet, which is often seen in the lower edge of the lights, comes from nitrogen. As the same is the most of the blue. The source of the electrons comes from the sun and the conditions of the sun decide whether it turns into the Northern Lights. Emanating from the sun, some particles are captured by Earth’s magnetic field and find the way to the Polar Regions along the magnetic field. But first it has been on the night side of Earth and gained an extra energy in the magnetic field there. What really happens out there, do we simply not know for sure. Perhaps this uncertainty has helped to build the many myths about the Northern Lights?

Join Joanna Lumleys trip to experience the Northern Lights:

Check out her video on YouTube

There is much superstition and many different stories about the Northern Lights. In the good old days, people looked upon the Northern Lights as a warning of punishment or a reminder of how to behave. Some believed that the Northern Lights was a warning of war and pestilence. If you waved a white handkerchief to the Northern Lights, it could be provoked and angry, and it could have taken you with it. The Laps said that the Northern Lights had a supernatural power.

There are numerous stories and legends about the Northern Lights. Although there is still some uncertainty, we know today that it is due to physical phenomena. We also know that it is incredibly beautiful and that people are travelling from all over the world to experience this phenomenon.

HI Norway has several hostels in the area with the Northern Lights. Mehamn is the hostel in the area where the Northern Lights occur most frequently. Senja, Ballstad, Å and Bodø are located a bit further south, but the possibility to experience the natural phenomenon is quite good as well.

When do the Northern Lights occur? The Northern Lights is often associated with winter, but actually it is there all year. We just cannot see it in the brightest nights. It is because the sky must be fairly dark. Therefore, we only see the Northern Lights in real life in the Northern part of Norway in the period from September to mid April. The strongest Northern Lights can also be seen towards the sky when it is quite bright. The Northern Lights is hard to see, the days before and after, the full moon. It is because the sky is bright that the experience pales considerably.

For further information and booking, please contact the hostels directly. Members of Hostelling International receive 10 % discount on the overnight price. Join HI today!

Other information and illustration of the Northern Lights:

Photo: Arctic Coast AS, Ørjan Bertelsen. Photo taken at a “Hunting the light-trip” organized at Mehamn Hostel.