What are the Southern Lights So whats the differ

first_imgWhat are the Southern Lights?So what’s the difference between the Northern and Southern Lights? In summary, very little. A quick science lesson: When charged particles from the sun collide with atoms in the Earth’s atmosphere, they charge electrons in the atoms with energy. When the electrons’ energy levels reduce, they release a photon: light. This process creates aurora, whether it’s the one in the northern hemisphere or the south. “Other than location, there really is no difference to the Northern Lights and the Southern Lights,” explains Dr Ian Griffin at the Physics Department at New Zealand’s University of Otago. “They both take place over the polar regions and are basically the same phenomenon, caused by material from the sun getting trapped by the Earth’s magnetic field and causing our atmosphere to glow.”When is the best time to see the Southern Lights?While the best time to see the Northern Lights is between September and April, the best time to see the Southern Lights is between March and September. It’s also worth considering how strong the Southern Lights have been in recent years. Find out how strong the Northern Lights have been recently, and if they’ve been putting on a good show, it’s highly likely that spotting the Southern Lights will be easier than usual, too. “The lights are caused by material from the sun interacting with the Earth – the same process which results in the Northern Lights,” points out Dr Ian Griffin. “If the lights are strong in the north they will be strong in the South.” Another one of our top aurora hunting tips? View them from the water if possible. A number of specialist tour operators, including Hurtigruten, are well known for their Northern Lights cruises, but many also offer cruises for those wishing to spot the Southern Lights, too. 4. The FalklandsA recent study by astronomers found that the Falkland Islands is one of the top places to see the Southern Lights. It’s significantly easier to get to than Antarctica (although this will still be one of your most expensive holidays) and the Southern Lights period is long, stretching from April and August. As for how to get to the Falkland Islands? There are regular flights from Punta Arenas in Chile and from Rio Gallegos in Argentina, but the islands can also be explored on a growing number of cruises. Credit: Dr Ian Griffin2. South Georgia IslandYou’d be forgiven for not having heard of this tiny chunk of land. So where is South Georgia Island? A British Overseas Territory, it can be found almost 2,000 miles to the east of the tip of Argentina. It’s even more remote than the Falklands, but travellers’ growing thirst for adventure cruises means it’s becoming more accessible – luxury cruise line Silversea is one of the latest tour operators to offer tours to South Georgia. 5. ArgentinaUshuaia (the world’s southern-most city) is closer to the Antarctic Circle than Tasmania, South Georgia and Stewart Island, making it a pretty good place from which to view the Southern Lights. During the darker months, the sun disappears for up to 17 hours a day, making it much easier to see the natural phenomenon. But a word of warning: this part of Argentina can be prone to long spells of bad weather so it’s worth checking out long-range weather forecasts before you go. Have we fuelled your wanderlust? If you’re keen to channel your inner explorer, read on….10 epic road trip adventuresSome travel-themed eye candy to inspire your travels.10 amazing places you won’t believe exist on earthNot only do these places actually exist, but they’re actually possible to get to. Here’s how.10 alternative city breaksAre you an urban junkie? You can still get off the beaten track. Here’s how.Skyscanner is the world’s travel search engine, helping your money go further on flights, hotels and car hire.ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Mapcenter_img 3. AntarcticaYou don’t need to be an astronomer to know that you have to head North to see the Northern Lights (Norway, Finland, Sweden and Iceland are the best countries for viewing the Aurora Borealis) so the fact that you have to head South to see the Southern Lights shouldn’t come as a surprise either. And Antarctica, a continent which covers 20 percent of the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere and has no permanent residents, is as south as you can get. Considering signing up for a Southern Lights Antarctica cruise? Oceanwide Expeditions, Southern Explorations and Six Star cruises are just some of the companies which operate Aurora Borealis cruises through Antarctica, but unfortunately, they don’t come cheap. Expect to pay a minimum of £5,000 per person for a week-long cruise. 1. New Zealand and TasmaniaNew Zealand is one of the best places to see the Aurora Borealis (the scientific term for both the Northern and Southern Lights). Stewart Island, the South Island’s Mount Cook National Park and the Catlins coastal region (also on the South Island) are all great places from which to see the Southern Lights. Australia is another option, although only Tasmania – not the mainland. “Hobart in Tasmania is a good example of a non-Antarctic land mass where the aurora can be seen during elevated geomagnetic activity,” says Professor Mark Conde, a physicist and Southern Lights expert at the University of Alaska. “The other easy option is the South Island of New Zealand. It’s further south than Hobart geographically, but about the same geo-magnetically.” RelatedWhere to see the Northern Lights in the UK in 2016-17If seeing the Northern Lights is at the top of your bucket list, you might be surprised to learn that with a little luck, it’s possible to see them here in the UK. Find out where and when to see the mighty Aurora Borealis without leaving home, plus get tips…Best places to see the Northern LightsBest places to see the Northern Lights6 best places to see the Northern Lights this yearWould you like to see the ‘Northern Lights’, or Aurora Borealis? Viewing their unearthly colours and sounds in the night sky above a snowy Arctic wilderness is on many bucket lists. Let us make those dreams come true! We answer the important questions on when and where you can see…last_img

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