To star gaze, is to look upon a star-clustered fraction of the universe and gain perspective on one’s life. It is a past time that has entertained and intrigued generations, to look up at the night sky in all its beauty and philosophise on the world and its wonders. Sometimes however, there may be more to see than stars.
In a land of thick pine forests, expansive crystalline lakes and white artic landscapes Finland is a place of purity and mystery. This Nordic country shares similar culture, history and language with its neighbouring countries of Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and Norway, all making up this Nordic region that has stood united in both economy and crusade.
Split into 19 regions with the majority of its population in the south, Finland is home to; enduring culture, famous landscape and the official home of Saint Nicholas. Its largest and most northern region is Lapland, influenced heavily by the Arctic Circle that cuts through the terrain of white mountain ranges and snow covered forests. Regardless of the beautiful landscapes or extensive outdoor activities on offer, it is Lapland’s skyline that truly distinguishes itself as out of this world. In the northern region’s capital of Rovaniemi 10 miles south of the Arctic Circle, flashing above the snow capped pines, lies the Aurora Borealis.
Otherwise known as the northern lights, a natural light display found in high altitude regions of the Arctic and Antarctic. Named after the Roman goddess of dawn, and Galileo’s terminology for wind the Aurora Borealis is a beautiful natural phenomenon.
The northern lights consist of solar winds and charged particles colliding, directed into a high altitude atmosphere by the earth’s magnetosphere. The results are magnetic fields of curtain like structures in astonishing shades of green, blue, pink and yellow. These light displays may change within a manor of seconds or may remain unchanged, lighting up the sky for hours at a time. Finland boasts 200 days of the Aurora Borealis light show that draws visitors from all over the world to see this naturally formed spectacle.
Notoriously hard to capture on film unless using the right equipment with a strong auroral display, makes the northern lights worthwhile seeing first hand. Years of folklore tell of sounds coming from the northern lights. Reports of crackling, static and clapping have always been present. However Aalta University managed to record clapping accompanying the northern lights, although so rare and faint are these noises that it is considered a once in a lifetime moment to hear anything.
As the beginning of August draws near so does the Autumn equinox, considered one of the best times to view the Aurora Borealis. On a clear night, the northern lights fill the star filled sky with breathtaking colour creating an unforgettable image, a contrast to the snow capped scenery. Travelling north above the Arctic Circle is the municipality of Inari, northern Lapland. The largely unpopulated section of Lapland relies mostly on timber industries and tourism. Inari offers a unique experience to viewing the northern lights that is an experience in itself.
Kakslauttanen igloo village consists of 20 thermal glass igloos that are rented out for the sole purpose of viewing the Aurora Borealis. Surrounded by snowy pines the only lights around are the green hues of the northern lights, an already astounding sight, defined by this unusual camp site that modernises a traditional Finnish lifestyle.
The northern lights are world renowned for being unique and unforgettable. Pictures alone can be hard to believe, to see the familiar starry sky illuminated with a veiled curtain of colour. Star gazing may be a pastime enjoyed by millions, yet to see the Aurora Borealis streak across the stars will be a memory that will last a lifetime.
Where will you be when the Aurora Borealis comes to life next week?