27 December 2012

The Northern Lights.

Partnered post:

Several years ago I went to Norway.  I was young, free and single then, with all the time in the world, plenty of cash to splash and it was where I fancied travelling to at the time.  I can't tell you why I felt like going there (because I don't know), but I can tell you that it was where I first ate smoked salmon and enjoyed it, that the scenery was spectacularly beautiful and that I got off the plane at the wrong airport, which would have been the right one, if I'd had the sense to make the Northern Lights part of my plans. 

Every Christmas, when I make scrambled eggs with smoked salmon for breakfast, I am reminded of my trip and I always wonder about the Aurora Borealis - their correct term. The actress Joanna Lumley was so fascinated by this extraordinary natural phenomenon, where the sky is filled with a variety of hues of the rainbow that the BBC made a documentary about her fulfilling her life long ambition to see them for herself. 

Apparently, these 'lights' are created by fast particles from space hitting the top of the earth's atmosphere....  

Picture - National Geographic.

Picture - National Geographic.

... and we are now in the period known as 'Solar Maximus,' which only happens every 11 years.  This means there is heightened sunspot activity, offering more chances to see them.  They're normally best visible September - April.

I do wish I'd been more clued up before booking that holiday, because I can't think of anything more special to witness, yet my kids would love it, being into science and space and such things.  At that time, however, they were mere sparks of my imagination.

So these days, I'm no longer young, free or single, nor is there much cash to splash, but when there is, a return trip to Scandinavia is definitely on the cards and, next time, we'll all know exactly why we're going!