To understand how The Solar Cycle works and to maximise your chances of seeing the Northern Lights during all parts of the solar cycle, our guide below explains everything you need to know to ensure you can make the most of your hunt for the Aurora.
Figure 1. Credit: NASA/SDO
What is The Solar Cycle?
The Solar Cycle is the 11-year cycle in which the solar activity of the Sun falls and rises in intensity. While the Sun appears from a distant 93,000,000 miles as a constant ball of fire, the variation in activity on its surface is measured by the number of Sunspots, or regions of reduced surface temperature.
Essentially, the number of Sunspots rises and falls naturally over the course of this 11-year period, with the length of the cycle varying from as little as 8 to as much as 14 years.
Although the length of the cycle can vary in length, since records began in 1755 the sunspot cycle has always followed the same pattern of increasing to “Solar Maximum” (the point at which the number of Sunspots peak) and decreasing to “Solar Minimum” (the point at which the number of Sunspots is at its lowest).
A view like no other
The remote Finnish landscape, one of the last remaining wilderness regions in Europe, is an enchanting sight to behold. Luckily with a stay in a Glass Igloo, you never have to take your eyes off this spectacular scenery as the half-glass roof provides a wonderful vantage point, right above your bed. What’s more, as Finland witnesses the Northern Lights on roughly 200 evenings of the year, what better way to search the skies long into the night than from your cosy Glass Igloo?
As one of the most sought-after accommodation options, many of our holidays offer a stay in a Glass Igloo in Finland. You could opt to start your Northern Lights holiday in style with your first night in these impressive structures or you could top off an end to a brilliant trip by spending your last night searching for the Aurora from the comfort of your cabin. We even have options should you wish to spend the duration of your trip in a Glass Igloo.
Though we highly recommend taking part in as many dedicated Northern Lights activities as you can, a Glass Igloo gives you the wonderful opportunity to continue your search for the magical display as late as you would like! Scroll to learn more about these memorable accommodation options.
The much-loved Northern Lights Village in Saariselkä, in the North East region of Finnish Lapland, opened a new resort for the first time for the winter 2019/2020 season. I was fortunate enough to be amongst the first ever guests to stay here. Located in Levi, a ski town south west of Saariselkä, the hotel is only a 25-minute transfer from Kittilä airport. Despite the short transfer time, Levi is a remote location far away from light pollution - perfect for Northern Lights viewing.
SAS have announced new direct flights to Luleå, Sweden from the UK, which means that our winter trips to Luleå are now even easier to reach.
The Aurora Zone have been operating Northern Lights trips and winter holidays to Luleå for many years, but with new direct flights which will be available from December 2020, visitors can now fly directly to Luleå from London Stanstead. Working in conjunction with SAS and Visit Sweden, the new route makes this pristine corner of Swedish Lapland much more accessible, and is considered greener, too!
Swedish Lapland; directly this way
As the original Northern Lights Holiday specialists, we have been researching and visiting prime Aurora destinations for many, many years. Based on our experience, we know that in order to witness Mother Nature’s greatest display, it’s best to get off-the-beaten-track and into darker skies.
Travelling to these remote regions has not always been easy. However, alongside our local partners who are passionate about showing you their home, we are continuously working to offer better routes to these stunning wilderness areas. What’s more, with responsible travel at the forefront of our minds, it is our priority to find greener alternatives wherever possible.
That’s why we’re proud to have worked alongside both SAS and Visit Sweden to champion a new CO2-reducing direct flight from London Stansted to Luleå in Swedish Lapland - a renowned Northern Lights destination and a simply stunning corner of the world.
That means that this winter season, it will actually be possible to reduce your carbon footprint on your Northern Lights hunting holiday.
Scroll to learn more about this wonderful new route.
Choosing an unusual honeymoon destination to celebrate your nuptials has never been more popular. With many couples going against the expectation of three weeks by the beach, there are plenty of exciting – and romantic – experiences in other destinations that make for great offbeat honeymoon ideas.
When you move away from a ‘typical honeymoon’ a whole plethora of unforgettable experiences await and here at The Aurora Zone, we’ve carefully crafted our Northern Lights holidays for a honeymoon that’s both special and a little different. Take a look at some of our top trips!
With so many trips in colder climates, we get lots of questions about what clothing is provided in our winter destinations. During a recent trip to Inari, Finland our Product Manager Amy decided to take some pictures of the clothing we provide to help explain. As the clothing is often not what many people will have worn before, we explain why each item is an important piece of kit for heading out into winter weather.
Our client feedback is exceptionally important to us and nothing makes us happier than hearing about our guest's bucket list moments on their Northern Lights holiday. That's why we were thrilled to hear from Mark and Jacquetta who recently returned from Wilderness Hotel Inari on our Aurora Hunting Adventure trip and by the sounds of it, experienced a holiday of a lifetime...
Here at The Aurora Zone we think a new decade deserves to be welcomed in with style. That’s why throughout 2019 we worked hard to carefully craft brand new Northern Lights holidays and add new elements to some of our favourite trips. These exciting additions are here to help you tick not just the Aurora from your bucket list, but also some unbelievable Arctic experiences.
So, here are 20 new Northern Lights trips for you to choose from in 2020:
With the darker nights and crisper temperatures rolling in, we can feel that Christmas is on its way. You may have begun present shopping already or even started hanging the decorations up, but here at The Aurora Zone, we think the best way to get in the festive mood is to travel to a snowy wonderland where Arctic activities and Northern Lights experiences await.
I’ve been lucky enough to travel quite extensively over the last three years working with the Aurora Zone and have enjoyed some truly memorable experiences. What I have had less luck with, however, is the Northern Lights. Whilst my colleagues kept coming back from trips with tales of majestic Auroras, I seem to have hit periods of cloud and stories of ‘you should have been here last night it was incredible’.
We’ve had another brilliant month of entries for our #AuroraZoneMoments competition and we want to share some of the fabulous photographs with you.
Remember, if you’re travelling with us between now and 30th March 2019, share your photos using the hashtag #AuroraZoneMoments and you could be in with a chance of winning a case of wine.
From the innovative creators of the Northern Lights Village in Saariselkä, comes the fantastic Levi Resort.
Located 16km from Levi centre and featuring 40 Aurora Cabins, the village has been designed to give you a truly memorable stay during your winter holiday to Finnish Lapland and the best chance of seeing the Northern Lights.
These glass-roofed cabins will give you clear views of the night sky right from the comfort of your bed. What better way to search for the Northern Lights than while you’re wrapped up warm in your duvet looking up at the sky in an Aurora Cabin?
Levi sits in the far north of Finland, high above the Arctic Circle putting it well within the Aurora Zone. This means that it has great Northern Lights viewing potential and with their glass roofs, these Aurora Cabins certainly make the most of it.
Learn more about the resort below or click here to view our holidays to Levi.
Dedicated Aurora accommodation
We’re thrilled to introduce the innovative design in Aurora accommodation from the Apukka Resort in Rovaniemi, Finnish Lapland; the Aurora 360 Cabin.
You’ll be nice and cosy inside the wonderful two-tiered cabin. It comes equipped with electric fireplace and a panoramic glass roof right above your bed for 360o views of the Arctic sky.
Sleeping under a starry sky is enticing enough but with the prospect of seeing the Northern Lights dance above you as you lay in bed, this experience becomes unmissable.
This exclusive accommodation is only available at the Apukka Resort and is a wonderful addition to your Northern Lights holiday. Whether you are looking for a relaxing retreat in the wilderness or you want to take on some adventurous Arctic activities, we offer many different trips to Apukka.
Click here to view all Apukka Resort holidays or scroll down to learn more about the fantastic Aurora 360 Cabin.
Many people associate the Northern Lights with the cold depths of winter, and though we have seen some excellent displays come out of our Aurora Zone destinations this season, we’re also extremely excited to see what March will bring.
This is the 29th annual rendition of the hotel which saw 34 artists from 13 countries help to create the structure made completely of snow and ice. Nature is the inspiration behind many of the suites this year and we’re excited to show you the photos from the grand reveal.
Whether you are running low on annual leave or you’re simply just pushed for time, we know that not everyone can take a week-long break during the winter. However, trips to see the Northern Lights don’t have to be an extended holiday. In fact, Northern Lights weekend breaks are some of our most-loved trips.
Travelling to the Arctic not only takes you into Aurora territory, but it takes you into vast tracts of pristine wilderness where stunning views become almost commonplace.
In the Arctic there is nothing bleak about the winter environment. Wildlife abounds, and you will certainly develop respect for your surroundings and individuals who have made it their home over the centuries and even in modern times have an admirable relationship with the nature around them.
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