No matter how many popular attractions there are in Finland, a huge amount of people visit this country to see one of the most spectacular natural occurrences, the Northern Lights.
People have always admired things they never understood, things that were out of their logic and knowledge. This is why seeing Northern Lights for the first time equals to witnessing real magic. There is no other explanation how so many terrific colors can decorate the whole sky, as if there’s a whole new world existing up in the air.
Well, actually it was a lie, there is an explanation, a scientific one. Before getting down to business, pay attention to this spoiler alert. There are two things you might end up with once understanding what Northern Lights are: they might stop being divine once you understand the process, or quite the opposite, you might love the lights even more. This is particularly important, if you’re traveling with your family. In any case, I personally hope you have already seen the lights at least once in your life. The experience is unforgettable. If not, maybe you should start reading our posts about Finland attractions, its culture, different cities and other topics first. Bookmark this post to get back to once you have your first Northern Light experience.
If you have decided to go on, then let’s start the session.
The research, the real and productive research on these great natural phenomena have started just recently, in the 20th century.
It turns out that the quantity and the quality of these lights reach their peak every 11 years. These lights occur all the time. They are pictured at nights, because dark background makes them more visible, but if you’re in Helsinki one afternoon, sitting in a cafe and reading a newspaper, Northern Lights may be happening right above your head.
The best time of the year to see them is from September till April. The reason is not the supposition that Northern Lights occur only in winter. In reality, night skies in winter are really dark, which is why the lights contrast to them.
There are no specific rules and norms about the colors. You can expect all shades of all colors. Despite this, they are usually pale and more often green or pink. The forms also don’t matter. They can cover the whole sky, or they can be seen very vaguely from a corner. It all depends on your own location. The closer you are to a pole, the better you will see the lights.
Other than that, if you want to see the real big scene you will have to travel to Finland, Alaska, Canada, and so on.
These lights are dazzling only for those on the Earth, they can cause serious damage to the satellites and all the technology placed in space. The electrical power can go off and so on. So while you are slowly enchanted with their beauty, our presence in space struggles to maintain normal functioning.
How do they happen?
Where do the lights come from? No, it’s not Santa Claus in his Finnish headquarters, sitting on the couch and painting the lights. They come directly from the sun. See, besides warmth, the Sun also releases clouds of gas, which get a one-way ticket to the Earth.
But, unfortunately, because they haven’t got a visa to enter our protected Earth, they collide with the magnetic field of the atmosphere. In other words, that’s our security personnel. After the collision the gases are transferred to either of the poles of the Earth, let’s call them detention centers. Once they arrive to their final destination, the concert starts. Charged particles of the gas get into a bloody fight with oxygen molecules.
They take the appearance of stunning lights and become a great tourist attraction for the whole world population. Not very romantic, isn’t it? This is why I warned you beforehand. I myself lost some interest after realizing I’m admiring gases. On the other hand, you should understand that these lights are sent right from the Sun, the center of our solar system.
It takes around 3 days for them to get here. These lights are a reminder of the natural beauty of the whole universe, and not simply our surroundings. It hints about our strong bonds with the Sun and God knows what else awaits us there.
The Counterpart of Northern Lights
We have focused on Northern lights because Finland is located in the Northern hemisphere of the globe. But it’s not the only place to view them. Polar lights appear in both Northern and Southern hemispheres. While the Northern one is called aurora borealis, the Southern lights are called aurora australis.
If you are planning your trip to Finland in winter, definitely include Lapland there. It’s one of the best places to view the lights from. You can also combine the Lapland visit with Christmas vacation, that is, waiting for Santa Claus at his own home. Maybe you will be the first ones to get presents.
In addition to that, don’t forget about the great opportunities for skiing. A good place to learn (if you are a beginner) and show off some professional skills (if you are on the advanced level).
Northern Lights can be considered to be one of Finland’s WOW monuments. The only difference is that they’re made by the best artist of the world, itself.