Thursday, November 24, 2016

‘A few days in the Arctic Circle in search of Northern Lights’ by K.J.S.Chatrath

 Earlier this month, I spent a few days in the Arctic Circle in search of Northern Lights. One had read a lot about this amazing natural phenomenon and had seen photographs and short film clips of these, but the desire to see these live was great.

So I boarded what was called an ‘Expedition Ship’ from Bergen in Norway. The first encounter was on the second night of the sailing itself but the view was hazy and of short duration. The second night we all were ready on the deck.

It was about minus 3 degrees Celsius and the ship was moving at a speed of knot per hour. On top of that there was a cold wind blowing. And the Northern Lights appeared soon and remained for about an hour.

It was so cold that inspite of the fact that I was well dressed for the weather, I could not stand on the deck for more than 5 minutes at a stretch as the cold would hit the eyes and tears would start rolling incessantly making it impossible to see anything and forcing me to retreat to a covered area. I guess it is human body’s coping mechanism.

I was in the arctic circle for another 3 nights but by that time weather had become bad and it was snowing all the time and no Northern Lights could be seen.

Take a look at some of the photos that I took. It is not easy to photograph these lights but I guess I was lucky.

The lights are seen above the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres. They are known as 'Aurora borealis' in the north and 'Aurora australis' in the south. Auroral displays appear in many colours although pale green and pink are the most common.

The lights come at night when the sky is dark and seem to be dancing across in the sky. 

To the locals living in the areas where these are visible, these are a part of yearly cycle. In these areas these lights have been, and still are, a rich source for art, mythology and legends.

Renowned scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson sees this phenomenon as a unique example of just how beautiful science can be. “It’s a curious thing about the universe”, he says, “behind the most stunning sights to behold, lies some of the most challenging problems in physics”.


One may like to see the following websites of travel companies in India that organise trips to see the Northern Lights:   Contact Director Mr.Sameer Londhe

(Write up with inputs from the internet.)