Northern Lights – The Age of the Aurora
Solar activities, also known as sunspots, are what regulate the intensity of the solar wind which in turn creates the aurora borealis. The sun has an 11 year cycle – or “pulse” – which regulate the intensity of the sunspots/northern lights and thereby also their consistency. Scientists have been monitoring this for hundreds of years and also know when to expect increases in activity.
As we now head into a period with very high sunspot activity – one could say we are in The Age of Aurora – which should therefore bring about some fantastic displays of aurora.
The next time this high sunspot occurs again will be first around 2022 – so if you want to view this nature’s splendour in the foreseeable future – now is the time to book a trip to the northern latitudes where this is viewable.
To see the Northern Lights Holidays we offer click here
You can book a break to see the Northern Lights in Iceland, Sweden or Norway, where you enjoy not only great views of Aurora Borealis but also an arctic experience.
Predicting the best time to see Northern Lights
The current cycle of sunspot activity – known as Cycle 24 – has brought spectacular activity this year and that promises to continue over the autumn of 2013.
NASA tracks sunspot activity and tries to predict it because of the need for this information in the forward planning of space launches.
In its scientific and detailed article on Northern Lights and sunspot activity, NASA says it uses a few methods to predict cycle peaks.
“Relationships have been found between the size of the next cycle maximum and the length of the previous cycle, the level of activity at sunspot minimum, and the size of the previous cycle,” says the article.
“Among the most reliable techniques are those that use the measurements of changes in the Earth’s magnetic field at, and before, sunspot minimum. These changes in the Earth’s magnetic field are known to be caused by solar storms but the precise connections between them and future solar activity levels is still uncertain.”
So the best time to book a holiday to see the Northern Lights, if you haven’t already seen them, is autumn 2013, if these predictions are correct.
For more information on our Northern Lights breaks please click here
There are three main types of travel. The first are the beach holidays. Flights, car hire and a hotel/villa and you’re all set. These are great for when you just want to get away and have a relaxing break. They are perfect for those that don’t want to plan and just decide as they go what they do with tomorrow. This is the sort of trip for someone who wants to keep full control of their schedule. They are simple, easy trips. Pick a beautiful location and half an hour on Expedia, and it’s all done.
The second category is the full set tour package. Whether it is a case of you travelling alone, wanting to meet new people, or whether you are just unsure how to put together everything you want to do, these are the breaks for those wanting someone else to plan out the A’s to B’s. It could be a case of too much to organise or just not knowing how. City breaks are easy to organise, but how about a trip to the arctic on a northern lights holiday? How do you organise a husky sled tour? Or maybe you are travelling around. Organising a trip to Golden Triangle India trip say, would be quite daunting for most people. This is where the tour package excels; it gives you effortless travel without the worry. Trying to arrange this sort of trip would feel like a comparison search for new car insurance at the end of the day, and that rather defeats the point of a wonderful holiday!
But there is a downside to the second category. What if you don’t get on with everyone in the group and you spend part of your coach or cruise trying to avoid set people? Also, it means many early starts, which feels contradictory taking into account that for a few days/week etc. you want to escape the alarm clock! Lastly, whilst you’re happy to get up early for a tour you are looking forward to, there are always parts of the ground programme you have no interest in, and that’s when getting out of bed early, packing the case and checking out of your hotel to be driven to the next place, just feels like too much hard work.
Onto category three. At Weekend a la Carte most of our clients have done many of the previous types of trips, and they know what they want. This includes hassle-free travel and to be looked after, but not to be part of a group and have no say on their itinerary. Everything we do is bespoke travel, reaching from an African Big 5 Safari, Venice Carnival package, Northern Lights trips, to city breaks. We know you want control of your holiday, but we also know you want someone else to work on the finer details. Most of our travellers are celebrating special birthdays and wedding anniversaries. These are our forte. We know how to make your trip special. You won’t be waiting for others to get on the bus, we won’t take you places you have no interest in, your hotel won’t be away from all the local sights.
The travel dates, hotels and duration are for you to decide. We are very flexible! We have many clients who want us to arrange ground only and then leave them to their devices, and if you want a second tiger safari on your Golden Triangle India holiday or a second night at the Verona opera, we can do this. We have been doing it for thirteen years, and are constantly looking at ways to improve our breaks, extensions being one of the main ways. We really do have something for everyone. Why not take a look?
Weekend a la Carte – a chocolate box of trips including Slovenia, Russia, Prague, Jordan, Morocco and Vienna.
Aurora Nights – Northern Lights inspired trips to Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Greenland.
Italian Short Breaks – Verona Opera, Venice Orient Express Train, Venice Carnival and the Siena Palio.
Big 5 Safaris – South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and Namibia.
Now the only hard part is for you to decide where your next adventure takes you!
Some of you may be watching the latest reality show “71 degrees North” on ITV. This new adventure reality show stars 10 celebrities and is set amongst the icy glaciers and snowy landscape of Norway, mixing spectacular experiences and pure danger, with sheer entertainment and breathtaking scenery. Activities so far have included Husky Sledging, Snowmobiling, Swimming in the Icy Waters and Building a Snow Cave. To come is reindeer racing, frozen waterfall climbing and snow hiking to name but a few.
As many of our Arctic Adventures breaks are set in similar conditions, though we offer Arctic breaks in Greenland, Sweden, Finland and Iceland and include many of these activities we thought it might be interesting to talk about what you should be wearing in these climes.
In order to dress right in a cold climate it is important to regulate the body’s exchange of heat with the surroundings.
The 3 layer clothing principle outlined below will ensure your comfort.
What to pack
An inner layer or Thermal base layer made from synthetics, wool or a woollen mixture (pure cotton should be avoided since cotton clothing cools down when it becomes wet.)
A middle layer of clothing should strengthen and regulate the heat insulation, isolate air and hold the humidity from the body. For example woollen sweater/shirt, fleece or thermal sweater.
An outer additional layer of woollen jumpers/sweaters, fleeces or thermal sweaters made of breathable material in order to allow even distribution of body heat, which can be added if required. Good Quality Woollen Socks
Gloves and Hat (for use outdoors when arctic clothing is not essential)
What would be provided to complete your Arctic Wear
An arctic jacket and trousers or thermal overalls, warm protective boots, outdoor hat, balaclava and gloves.
A proper hat restricts the great heat losses from the head while giving protection to ears and neck. A Balaclava offers excellent additional protection from the elements and can be worn under your Arctic Hat. People may find this of help to protect their faces from the elements (when travelling on snowmobiles in particular).
Gloves give good protection to the hands, and Arctic Thermal Shoes protect against moisture as well as the cold ground. They are larger than a normal shoe, in order to leave space for socks and soles, and to have an insulating layer of air in the shoe. Remember to take good quality woollen socks.
So now you are set and know what to wear! Take a look at the Arctic Adventure Breaks and see where you would wear them!