Winter 2013/2014 is set to be a solar maximum, which means your chances of seeing the Northern Lights are higher than they’ve been in a decade. The Northern Lights (or aurora borealis) is the name for the flashes of green, red, purple lights that ripple across the night sky every winter. You can see them in countries close to the North Pole, such as Norway or Finland.
The lights occur when charged particles from the sun react with nitrogen and oxygen atoms in our atmosphere. They don’t happen every night, but when they do it’s always worth the wait.
Seeing the aurora borealis for the first time is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and one that led our ancestors to believe all kinds of strange superstitions. Some thought they were an omen for the outbreak of war, while others thought they were the fiery breath of a dragon.
Even though we now know scientifically what the Northern Lights actually are, it doesn’t make them any less spectacular. Check out this infographic from Visit Norway and Expedia to get the lowdown on why they happen and how to maximise your chances of seeing them.