February 12, 2013

Northern Lights in Northern Norway

This brilliantly crafted video was made by Ole Salomonsen.

Since 2001, about an year after I started pursuing stargazing as a hobby, I have been dreaming of seeing the Northern Lights. 2013 is predicted to be an year of Solar Maximum so I made plans to spend a week at Tromsø in northern Norway.

On 11th Feb, I took the flight from Graz where I was working. I changed at Munich and Oslo. The flights were very comfortable and I got the chance to see some amazing views of Austria, Germany and Scandinavia. At Tromsø I stayed at Sydspissen Hotel. My room was the third one from the right on the first floor seen below.

On 12th I visited the office of Visit Tromsø. I wanted to book two tours for seeing the northern lights and the official there expalined in detail all the available options. I booked the excursion "Northern Lights Chase" conducted by Arctic Guide Service for 13th evening boat tour offered by Soroya Hafencruise on 15th, my birthday. When I went to the office of Arctic Guide Service, the branch manager Mr. Francisco Damm saw my enthusiasm and gave the tip that 12th evening offered better conditions with high solar activity and clear skies compared to 13th. As per his advise I got my tour date changed to 12th evening. I will always be grateful to him and his team for the memorable northern lights experience that followed. At 6:30 PM, we went by bus to an island called Hillesøy. These photos were taken by our guides. I purchased my portrait photo from their photography website NorthernShots.

Below is the Google Street View of the location where we reached by bus. For viewing the lights we walked over the small hill and went closer to the water. In the background the same hills can be seen which are in my photo.

These two photos from our excursion are from the Facebook Page of Arctic Guide Service.

I used the website of NOAA National Space Weather Prediction Center to get latest information about auroral activity. This is the Statistical Auroral Oval extrapolated from measurements taken during the polar pass of an NOAA POES satellite around the time of our excursion.

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