Ali Mclean

Ali Mclean

When is the best time to see the Northern Lights? An Expert’s View.

Written by Ali Mclean
Thursday, 02 September 2021

When fully qualified and dauntingly clever people such as Jyrki Manninen, Deputy Director of the Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory in Finnish Lapland comment on the prospects for the new Aurora season, our ears prick up and we listen.

Harriniva autumn auroras web 1

An article in the Finnish press on 31 August 2021 asked Manninen for his expert opinion on one of, if not the most, asked questions regarding the Aurora Borealis. 

When is the best time to see the Northern Lights?


Ali Mclean

The First Auroras of the New Season

Written by Ali Mclean
Tuesday, 24 August 2021

It’s amazing the lengths that people will go to in order to see the Aurora Borealis.

Every year, we set our partners up in the Aurora Zone the challenge of sending us images of the first Auroral displays of the new season. This year, our long-term partner Markku Inkila was well and truly up for the challenge, and he wasn’t going to allow anybody to steal his thunder.

Markku, took himself and his camera into the wilderness surrounding his home in northeast Finland and spent the next 6 (yes SIX!!) hours scouring the northern skies for signs of wraith-like green lights.

Initially, his dedication yielded no reward, and he was worried that the imminent arrival of morning’s daylight would obscure the lights if they did occur. However, as is often the case with the Northern Lights, patience was rewarded. Not long before dawn, he noticed wispy green lights appearing in the sky.

Aug 2021


Ali Mclean

Autumn in Finnish Lapland

Written by Ali Mclean
Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Autumnal Colour during Daylight Hours

It is jokingly said that autumn in Finnish Lapland starts at 9 am on the 9th day of the 9th month and lasts for exactly three weeks. Clearly, this isn’t an exact science and with the climate seemingly changing on an almost daily basis, those dates should not be taken as fact.

What is certain is that if you time your trip to Lapland well then you can expect all the wonderful colours we associate with autumn during the day and dancing celestial lights once darkness falls.

Much of Finnish Lapland is covered by forests and fells and in autumn the landscapes are bathed in burnished shades of orange, gold, brown, ochre and myriad others. Indeed, the colours closely match those of the traditional dress worn by the indigenous Sami people.

Sami   Credit Matt Robinson   Autumn auroras 2019 3 credit Antti Pietikainen


Ali Mclean

Gearing up for a Great Aurora Hunting Season

Written by Ali Mclean
Friday, 06 August 2021

In just a few weeks, the 24 hours of daylight from the Midnight Sun will begin to dissipate and the northern skies will grow darker as autumn approaches.

The Midnight Sun is something to behold but it doesn’t half frustrate Aurora hunters in the Nordic countries because constant daylight renders the Northern Lights invisible. The lights are there, the displays are happening but unfortunately, they are invisible to the human eye.

All changes in mid to late-August as the days grow shorter and the nights become darker. There’s always excitement in Aurora hunting circles as to where the first displays of the new season will appear and, who will capture the phenomenon.

Whoever does see them first will have to be up pretty late at night because in late August there remains a large amount of residual light even after sunset. It is only in September when true darkness prevails and the Aurora presents itself in its full glory.

anttipietikainen


Ali Mclean

Is there anywhere safer from Covid-19 than Finnish Lapland?

Written by Ali Mclean
Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Here at The Aurora Zone, we send more people to Finland than any other destination. Unsurprisingly, we were absolutely delighted when the announcement came last week that the country is reopening its borders to fully vaccinated travellers.

We immediately booked five seats on Finnair flights to Ivalo and will be heading north in search of the Northern Lights in mid-September. We can’t wait. After so long without travelling abroad it will feel like freedom and, unlike many other destinations, we will head to Finland with absolutely no Covid worries.

Torassieppi   Credit Antti Pietikäinen (2) re sized

 

Is it safe to travel to Finland?

Naturally, a lot of people are understandably reticent about travelling in the post-Covid era. However, with a bit of investigation, it transpires that you are far, far more likely to contract the dreaded lurgy at home than you are in the wilds of Northern Finland.

Even better, if you really do want to come home at the end of your holiday, there will be no need to quarantine when you do. Finland is on the UK’s Amber List and the chances of it moving to red are minuscule.


Ali Mclean

Rare Red Auroras

Written by Ali Mclean
Tuesday, 03 November 2020

Rare Red Aurora in Finnish Lapland

“Fires over which a tribe of dwarfs, half the length of a canoe paddle and so strong they caught whales with their hands, boiled blubber.”

“Rare, red Auroras”. It sounds like something Michael Palin’s Pontius Pilate might have struggled with in Monty Python’s Life of Brian. However, for our ancestors, red Auroras were nothing to laugh at, for they were almost universally perceived as portents of doom.


Ali Mclean

'If I could be anywhere right now' - Falling in love with Finland

Written by Ali Mclean
Wednesday, 06 May 2020

In the current situation, while our bucket lists are on hold, we find ourselves with more time than ever to dream about our future travel destinations.

Here at The Aurora Zone, our team has been incredibly lucky over the years to spend a large portion of their time travelling North, researching locations and making friends with the locals, to find the very best places for our Northern Lights Holidays. We have had some amazing adventures along the way, and our memory buckets are overflowing with stories that bring us a sense of joy at these difficult times.

So, while we have plenty of time to reflect,  we thought we would bring you some of our favourite memories, and 'where we would be if we could be anywhere in the world right now'.

First up…

Founder and Managing Director  - Ali McLean

Credit Antti Pietikainen  (10) resized


Ali Mclean

Northern Lights update: how is the autumn season looking?

Written by Ali Mclean
Wednesday, 04 September 2019

 Auroras Jerisjarvi web 2 002 2

If you’ve been following our blogs, you’ll know that we’ve been banging on about Coronal Holes and Equinox Cracks for months now, hopefully with good reason.


Ali Mclean

Here we go! The new Aurora hunting season has begun.

Written by Ali Mclean
Friday, 23 August 2019

First Aurora on this new season 22.8.2019 002 2

For the last three months, Aurora hunters have been at a loose end while the 24-hour daylight of the Midnight Sun renders the Northern Lights invisible. Last night, the wait ended as the first Aurora of the 2019/20 season graced the skies of North East Finland.


Ali Mclean

Muotka Credit Matt Robinson 9

We’ve touted March as a great time to hunt for the Northern Lights until we are blue in the face. This is because there is very good scientific reasoning to support our assertion that March is the best of the winter months for witnessing the Aurora Borealis.


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The Aurora Zone was born from a desire to share Mother Nature’s greatest wonder with our clients. We’ve explored the destinations, researched the science, and fallen in love with the Scandinavian way of life. It’s our mission to pass this knowledge on to you, providing you with the very best chance of experiencing the magic for yourself on your Northern Lights holiday.

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