The legendary Aurora borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, is a natural phenomenon that appears in the sky in shades of green, brown and purple, among others. This stunning show of colour is so ethereal that people around the world travel to Canada just to view it.
Here is a quick guide to the best places to see the Northern Lights, how and when to catch the show, and tips to make the most of it. We will also explore what else you can do besides watch this phenomenon.
What Causes the Northern Lights?
The Northern Lights only happen in the Northern Hemisphere, where electrically charged solar particles that ride on the solar wind enter the earth’s atmosphere. They then collide with gases such as nitrogen and oxygen, which causes them to light up the sky in fabulous colours. The scientific name aurora borealis comes from two mythical creatures; Aurora is named after the Roman goddess of the dawn, while Borealis comes from Boreas, the Greek god in charge of the north wind. Much of the country lies within the Auroral Oval, which means you can view the natural phenomenon in several places.
Why Should You View the Northern Lights?
First, this phenomenon is elusive. There is no guarantee that it will appear on a specific date, which makes it more attractive. However, there are good chances that you may see the lights near the magnetic pole.
Second, the Northern Lights create fantastical hues amplified by sunlight and clouds. Expect to see everything from arcs to translucent clouds and misty skies. The most popular colour is green, but you are likely to find pinks, purples and yellows, depending on the time of the day. Red is the rarest colour in the sky. These colours behave as if they are dancing in a lazy zigzag manner.
When Do You See the Northern Lights?
You can see the lights almost anywhere in Canada around the year. However, they are best seen in the north, where they are most active. For the best experience, you need to visit remote villages with little light pollution. Most of the lights cannot be seen through clouds. You need to move to areas where there is little cloud cover.
The winter season is usually the best (from December to March) as there are more dark hours than daylight. Besides, most of the nights experience a clear sky. Interestingly, the best time to view the lights is between 10 pm and 2 am, with midnight being the absolute time to capture much of the phenomenon.
These are the best spots for an aurora sighting.
The Northwest Territories is one of the best locations to watch the Northern Lights during winter and autumn. There is little light pollution, and the lights are visible about 240 nights a year. The optimal timeframe is in winter or fall. You can spend the autumn in a bushy thicket in the area where you can hike and bike when not watching the lights. During winter, you can visit the Aurora Village near Yellowknife. This village has an observation deck that has tepees heated by wood stoves. There are also fur-lined sofas and a reclining viewing capsule.
Newfoundland and Labrador
If you are travelling to Canada solo, Newfoundland and Labrador have a large swath of virgin wilderness where you can camp and watch the northern lights without any light pollution. If you visit during winter, you can snowmobile over 1,000 kilometres of trails as you watch the lights above you. Other snow activities available in this area include cross-country skiing, hunting, ice fishing and snowshoeing.
Summers are also spectacular in this location, as you can visit the Torngat Mountains National Park on the peninsula. The park is known for its unique rock geology, with some formations as old as a billion years. The area also enjoys a traditional way of life that gives you unmatched scenic beauty by day.
Alberta is known for its Canadian rookies as well as its glassy lakes. The area is so beautiful and pollution-free that Athabasca University has set up a geophysical observatory to study the magnetic effects of the aurora on the earth and atmosphere. It is a peaceful location to enjoy watching the lights deep into the night. This area is best for watching the lights in autumn.
When you are not out watching the night sky, you can visit Banff National Park and enjoy a variety of flora and fauna. There are several camping locations in the park. You can explore the area by hiking on the hills and paddling on the nearby lakes when not at the park.
Despite being in the lower latitudes, Ontario still experiences a good share of this amazing phenomenon. The prime time for catching the Northern Lights in this location is between September and October. However, you need to find a suitable location outside the city and nearby towns so that light pollution does not affect your experience. The best places for viewing auroras include Manitoulin Island, Pukaskwa National Park, and Moosonee.
When you are not viewing the light and during the daytime, you can participate in several outdoor activities that include trout fishing, relaxing at the beach, going on an archaeological trip at Agawa Bay, and experiencing the indigenous culture of the people on Manitoulin Island. Ontario is also one of the most recent places in Canada to allow casino gaming. You could spend your lazy evenings playing your favourite slots or blackjack games on the phone. If you have not joined any online casino yet, visit Casino.info to read reviews of the best platforms on the internet as well as the best games.
Are you ready to be amazed by Mother Nature? The Northern Lights viewing experience is one of a lifetime. While in Canada, you can enjoy several other outdoor activities in various environments in the country. Plan your next trip to one of the areas listed above and pack your camera to capture otherworldly experiences with auroras.Why Try Out Rocket.net - IcyCanada's recommended hosting provider