i want to see the northern lights

Discussion in 'travel and world' started by wayward bob, Dec 29, 2017.

  1. wayward bob

    wayward bob i ate all your bees

    we hardly ever go on holiday as a family and never abroad. about this time of year i start looking to book somewhere for easter.

    can anyone suggest the cheapest way to get 2 adults 2 teens to somewhere that will have snow and northern lights potential in the first half of april 2018? there's also the possibility of going during march and fuck the holidays... a week would be plenty...
  2. planetgeli

    planetgeli There's no future in England's dreaming

    There is no cheap way else I’d have done it. It too has been an ambition of mine for more years than I care to remember. As well as the cost issue there is the total random chance of being successful to take into consideration.

    On the flip side, being a curmudgeonly old git, I am beginning to take solace in several views I have seen expressed whereby the Northern Lights are often ranked as one of the biggest anti-climaxes by some of those who do see them.

    None of which is what you want to hear. Sorry. If you find a plan that contradicts what I say, be sure to PM me in.
  3. wayward bob

    wayward bob i ate all your bees

    random chance is fine - guaranteed snow and open fires would make a trip worth it on its own. i want to be a moomin, if only the once :D
    Spymaster and bubblesmcgrath like this.
  4. bubblesmcgrath

    bubblesmcgrath Well-Known Member

    You need to be in a place that has a few hours darkness in April and is far enough north.
    I was going to suggest Finland...up north. However, by April there's not much of a chance of seeing the northern lights.
    March would be better...

    See below...
    "April to August. To see the Northern Lights you need dark skies and from early-April until late-August, the Aurora may be blazing across the Arctic firmament but it is visible only to scientific equipment, as the skies are just too light for the human eye to see the show."
    When is the best time to see the Northern Lights?
  5. wayward bob

    wayward bob i ate all your bees

    well, like i said, march is possible :)
    bubblesmcgrath likes this.
  6. bubblesmcgrath

    bubblesmcgrath Well-Known Member

    March could offer you snow and northern lights. :)
    I hope you get to see them.

    I'd love to go back there.... lapland is an amazing place.
  7. cybershot

    cybershot Well-Known Member

    I’d love to do this too. As a single traveller thou I’d prob have to settle for a group excursion.

    I believe there’s now even ‘day trips’ where you jump on a plane and simply hope for the best. Not quite how I’d want to do it thou.
  8. wtfftw

    wtfftw melting like a toastie


    Can't type much atm, soz x
  9. salem

    salem Well-Known Member

    There are cheap flights to Iceland quite often (try wowair and easyJet but be aware the former has silly luggage rules that add to the cost). However it's not too cheap when you're there.

    I've been a few times as was dating an Icelandic woman but even though there were some times it was almost guaranteed I only saw some briefly. The trips themselves were otherwise amazing but being on a northern lights boat trip where there were no norther lights was a bit depressing.

    So with that in mind treat them as a bonus but I wouldn't try specifically to see them.
  10. wayward bob

    wayward bob i ate all your bees

    family are all up for this, in theory at least :) from a leisurely google it looks like the more remote you go the better the chance of aurora, and the more all-inclusive/expensive it gets. i doubt veggie kid1 will be up for much in the way of traditional sami cuisine...

    snow and huskies would almost definitely beat lights for the kids. i'm toying with the notion of hotels that keep watch all night and send you aurora text alerts :oops::D
  11. wayward bob

    wayward bob i ate all your bees

    thanks everyone. i think i have enough money left from my dad to do this somehow.

    a week or so sat freezing our tits off in the arse of nowhere, drinking, staring up at the sky and waiting for science to probably not happen :cool: he'd approve :D
    cybershot and mwgdrwg like this.
  12. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral. R.I.P.

    For once, I am so glad to be this bored.

    gentlegreen likes this.
  13. peterkro

    peterkro Greasin' on American Express card.

    Check out SAS flights to Kirkenes in March,with some research shouldn't be ridiculously expensive.
  14. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen Bulla liberali in perpetuum.

    Beat me to it, but darn you anyway - making me feel all folksy - I may actually have an album of theirs somewhere :oops:
  15. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral. R.I.P.

    It is actually a very good tune. Perhaps better without the TOTP's presentation. Although, she is sexy as...
  16. Bahnhof Strasse

    Bahnhof Strasse A-wob a-bob bob

    Here’s a bun fight I can’t be fucked with; make it cheap enough then the masses will wreck it...
  17. spudulike

    spudulike regal slip

    Given the Northern Lights probably won't put in an appearance, why not spend less visiting a "Dark Skies" area such as the Kielder Forest? There might even be a break in the clouds.


    Dark Skies
  18. wayward bob

    wayward bob i ate all your bees

    i guess i should have put guaranteed snow and huskies in bold :p
    Celyn likes this.
  19. 2hats


    Load the die by going during a solar maximum. Unfortunately the Sun has been increasingly fickle of late - we appear to have passed through (in 2014) one of the weakest solar maximums for a century. Now heading back to another minimum.

    I went to Iceland during the last decent maximum and was rewarded with auroral displays every night for 10 days or so. At the moment it is really just pot luck. I flew (eastbound, night) across the arctic a few weeks ago and didn't even see a display at such high latitudes from 30000ft which is unusual in my experience (have almost always seen aurora that way).
  20. wayward bob

    wayward bob i ate all your bees

    green with envy :D

    eta: so, how long to wait for the next "decent" maximum? :D
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
  21. 2hats


    Nominally it is every 11 years, so around 2025. But the Sun is behaving strangely and we don't fully understand why. It's not clear yet that it will return to the strong maximum/minimum cycle of the last century+.
    wayward bob likes this.
  22. wayward bob

    wayward bob i ate all your bees

    kid2 (10) looks a little crestfallen ;):D
  23. DownwardDog

    DownwardDog Riding a Brompton with a power meter.

    I've seen the aurora borealis on approach to Bodo (so maybe 68 deg N) and it doesn't look anywhere near as intense as it does on camera. Just get a 4K smart TV and watch it on YouTube.
  24. wayward bob

    wayward bob i ate all your bees

    i'm a photographer. i'm basically looking for a chance to dump the kids somewhere warm and comfy and potter around in the dark on my own for hours at a time :oops::D

    also, i want the chance to actually *see* it yunno, always have since i was a kid. not a traveller, have no bucket list, but if i can convince the rest of them it's something i really want to do :)
  25. wayward bob

    wayward bob i ate all your bees

    plus less snarky reply, i love dark skies :) we get them in the arse end of pembrokeshire in the summer - that's the highlight of my trip, lying out under a blanket watching the shooting stars and getting confused by the lighthouse :cool: part of what i'm trying to figure in is finding somewhere away from light pollution...
  26. 2hats


    Displays vary immensely. I've seen incredibly subtle ones that are barely described in the literature and I've seen full on blow you away displays that no camera could capture until the last 3-5 years or so when the tech has caught up and can just about do it justice. Still doesn't beat seeing them in person (especially when that means sitting out on a volcano in Iceland, in a geothermally fed hot tub with a beer and company (tick)).

    4K still doesn't catch some of the really fine, subtle structure in some storms and the weird magnetohydrodynamic effects one can see.
  27. 2hats


    If I wanted to see the aurora soon, not waiting for the next maximum which might be a very long time coming, to improve my chances, I would watch solar activity and gamble on a brewing sunspot group/growing active region which would essentially give you 20-25 days notice (the Sun takes 25 days to rotate) then book that far ahead for somewhere like Tromsø or north of Kiruna (Finland) for at least a week sandwiching that upcoming date (Nov-Feb). I'd also factor in numerical weather models looking for hints of a stable Scandi high. Not going to be cheap though; anything else is a shot in the dark (boom-boom).
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
  28. fizzerbird

    fizzerbird Always there when I need me...

    It's on my bucket list...for obvious reasons!

    Well obvious to some of you...;)
    Voley and sealion like this.
  29. wayward bob

    wayward bob i ate all your bees

    i have a new-to-me digi camera that can bizarrely see in the dark, i'd be really keen to try it out somewhere with such varying lighting conditions. the chance of virtually-randomly pointing and shooting and catching what *i* see goes way up :)

    it's not jut the the lights i'd be looking for/at it would be the light and the landscape - cos this is probably my one and only chance :thumbs:
  30. wayward bob

    wayward bob i ate all your bees

    that there is no cheap option appears to hold, given our cumulative level of travel experience and comfort requirements :oops::D

    that i can get us there and back within budget seems within realms of possibility :thumbs:

    atm i'm looking at *some* nights in the arse of sweden with snow and dogs and fires...
    two nights in stockholm
    paying the extra for refundable flights+airport lounges

    i've also asked an agent for a package to see how the options compare price-wise. will report back :thumbs:

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