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The Traveller's Magazine
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According to NASA, the best chance of seeing the Northern Lights will be this fall so instead of catching late-summer sun, trade your bikinis for your thermals and head north. It could be the best light show of year.

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The Northern Lights are mysterious and can be unpredictable but the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) say that the best chance travellers will have of catching the Northern Lights this year will be in the autumn. How do you predict when the lights will be at their best? It all comes down to pin-pointing the period of “solar maximum” when the lights are at their strongest. We already witnessed one solar peak earlier in the year and the second peak is due to hit in autumn and could last all through 2014.

[see]Astronomy: best night sky photos of the year[/see]

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Where to see the lights?

There’s no one country that is better than the next. What’s important is travelling north of the Arctic circle. In Europe, Sweden, Finland and Norway are all good choices for your autumn holiday. Alaska, northern Canada and Russia are also amazing. If you’re after a short weekend, it’s also possible to see the lights from Scotland. The key is finding a spot that is away from artificial light and moonlight.

[see]Photo-op: capturing Iceland’s volcanoes and northern lights[/see]

When to see the lights?

By autumn we mean starting from late September or early October through to winter. While the Northern Lights are rather unpredictable, the likeliest times to see them are late October, November, February and early March in the coming year. Book your trip and just hope for a night sky that is free from clouds. Remember there’s no guarantee but it’s a pretty good gamble if you plan a holiday in Sweden this year.

Have you ever seen the Northern Lights? Where were you?

Imgs: Image Editor, travel manitoba / Flickr cc.

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