If you are one of the billions of people with a bucket list of places to visit before the long sleep, chances are you’ve popped the Northern lights- the Aurora Borealis- on that list.

If you have looked into it carefully, you may have noticed that it’s not only the top of the planet that is visited by these wondrous displays of energy.

There is an aurora in the Southern hemisphere too, called the Aurora Australis, and although not as commonly seen as it’s far more reliable northern sister, the displays can be just as breathtaking.

In order to see an Aurora anywhere you need almost total darkness, clear skies, and lots of energy being emitted from the sun’s surface. An aurora is that energy released into our atmosphere and electrically charging particles trapped in Earth’s magnetic field.

Most people see this occurrence inside either the Arctic or Antarctic Circle, but if the weather conditions allow, they can be seen outside of these boundaries.

The colours produced range from green to white, and from blue to pink, red and purple. They swim and swirl across the sky in a silent neon light display that at one time baffled and terrified our ancestors.

Science has unlocked the mystery of this phenomena, nothing diminishes its remarkable effect on the soul. To see an aurora is to know that we are part of an enormous universe filled to bursting with power and scale beyond our imagining.

To witness an aurora first hand is a humbling experience.

The top listed places to catch Aurora Australis are Stewart Island in the very south of New Zealand, Ushuaia in the very south of Argentina, and Tasmania in the very south of Australia. Of course, Antarctica itself offers a much higher chance of seeing some spectacular light displays, only The South Pole is virtually uninhabited, and those scientists who do live there try and stay indoors at night during the ‘winter’, which by normal human standards is almost all year round.

There are cruises that head down into the freezing south during the milder months, and travelers have reported catching sight of the southern lights on occasion at that time. Seeing the Aurora Australis takes a bit more gritty determination and luck, but the results if you see it are mind bendingly beautiful.

If you are heading south to cross that particular achievement off the list, you might well want to remind yourself that sometimes the journey is more important than the destination. Argentina, New Zealand and Tasmania are worth a visit anyway, seeing the sky light up will be a bonus.

If you’d rather be certain of getting that life changing picture, you might want to head up into the northern western wilds of Canada where, as well as moose and Mounties, you will be able to capture plenty of amazing moments of not only the sky’s phenomenal wonder, but also some incredible scenery.

Tromsø in Norway is another very popular spot, well set up for tourists and is widely known as one of the most reliable places to see the Borealis in full swing. Finland also boasts some of the best viewing areas for lights in the World.

Murmansk in Russia is another top Northern lights spot and the ironically named frozen tundra country known as Greenland will almost certainly provide you with all the stunning surreal profile pictures you could ever dream of.

Alaska, too, is considered one of the best places to view an aurora, and the clean and clear air will invigorate your mind as well as your body. In fact, the air is so clear in parts of Alaska, some people can even see Russia from their backyard. So they say.

If you haven’t made a bucket list yet, best be making one, and when you do, do not forget to include at least one of these destinations on the list. We may not all be able to travel into space, but the true beauty of an aurora is, we don’t need to. The energy and magnitude of the Universe is literally coming to visit us.



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