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Fantastic Northern Lights to Reach Their Peak in the Next 12 Months

Fri 24th May 2013

Activity on the Sun rises and falls in a cycle lasting approximately 11 years, and the entrancing Arctic displays known as aurorae or the northern lights wax and wane in step with it. According to space scientists, the Sun’s current cycle of activity will peak this autumn, so the opportunities for seeing the northern lights in late 2013 and early 2014 should be the best for over a decade.

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Aurorae are a phenomenon of the Earth’s upper atmosphere, sparked by streams of atomic particles from the Sun. Funnelled downwards by the Earth’s magnetic field, the solar particles cascade onto the atmosphere in a ring around the poles, making it glow with dancing veils of light.

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In a recent survey by the Passenger Shipping Association, the northern lights was voted the natural phenomenon that passengers would most like to view from a cruise ship. Northern Norway is directly under the zone of maximum activity and is hence an ideal place to experience this great natural light show at its best.

Ian Ridpath

Lecturer, Hurtigruten astronomy voyages

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