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Aurora Facts & Information

Aurora and Igloo - Martina Gebrovska - Blachford Lake Lodge

Fireworks on a Cosmic Scale in Canada's North

Come to northern Canada to see the Aurora borealis,  one of the planet's greatest natural wonders.  We are close to Yellowknife, the capital of Canada’s Northwest Territories, one of the best places in the world for aurora-watching.  Blachford Lake Lodge unveils the northern lights  for you in a show you will never forget.  At Blachford you are front row centre as an ever-changing dance of light - yellow, green, lavender, and red - ebbs and flows across a clear night sky.

Our lodge lies below the Auroral oval, the enormous band of energy that circles the north magnetic pole. Here in Canada’s wilderness, you are as close to the Aurora as any earthbound spectator ever gets.

Each show is unique. The Aurora often occurs as curtains, parallel rays that fold and ripple as they swirl across the sky. Sometimes the lights move with incredible speed, and sometimes they hover lazily in great arcs. They might appear as ghostly wisps of green that suddenly burst into a crown of giant spokes. Once in a while all these patterns are displays in a variety of colours at one time - a truly mind-blowing experience. 

What is the Aurora? The Aurora is caused by eruptions of gas on our sun. High energy particles are blown into space at enormous speed, rushing past the earth.  Particles in this solar wind interact with the ionosphere, a layer of gases 60 to 600 kilometres above the earth’s surface. When the sun’s particles collide with the gases, the gases glow. The most common colour is a ghostly green, given off by oxygen. Oxygen is also responsible for a reddish brown.  The mauve or purple edges of very bright displays are caused by a mixture of nitrogen and oxygen atoms.

When is the best time to see the Aurora?

Even at "quiet" times of the Aurora cycle, our lodge at Blachford is an exceptional place for aurora watching as it lies directly beneath the Auroral oval.

Best Months Although the Aurora is active year-round, it is not visible during the long, bright days of Canada’s northern summer. A combination of clear, darker skies provides maximum viewing from mid-August to end September and December to mid-April. Best Time The Aurora can appear anytime between from 6 pm to 5 am. It may display for a brief or extended period; it often comes once, twice or several times in one night. The best way to be sure of seeing it is to keep watching the sky, checking at frequent intervals.  Our staff are generally up until around 1 am and if you wish, will be happy to wake you for aurora-watching.  A few of our guests make a point of staying up all night!

Best Phase of the Moon Blachford is a 20 minute ski-plane flight from the gold-rush city of Yellowknife, so easy to access, yet far enough from pollution by  artificial light.  Our position directly beneath the Auroral oval, means that the light of the moon generally makes little or even no noticeable difference to the brightness of the lights.  Indeed, some of our guests prefer to be out on a moonlit night, when a flashlight is not needed and the juxtaposition of moon and Aurora gives exciting and creative photo opportunities. Conversely, many Aurora watchers prefer to see the lights during a New Moon. The sky is at its darkest and the lights (and stars too) can appear brighter in contrast. 

Aurora Resources

Written by Dr. Melanie Windridge, "Aurora, In Search of the Northern Lights" is a wonderful and comprehensive read, and explores both the science and mythology behind the Northern Lights.

Listen to Dr. Windridge's interview with Russell Scott in the video below.

The Canadian Space Agency has detailed information about the Northern Lights, as well as access to the Aurora Max HD "Aurora Cam".

Tell me more about the moon, the new moon, and it's positions in the sky! We recommend taking a look here at TimeAndDate.Com for more information in regards to the moon and it's different phases. 

Stories and folklore surrounding the amazing Northern Lights are available all over the internet. Take a few minutes to look at Google, and you'll find yourself drawn into a world of legend, folk tales and mystery. Here's a great starting point from The Telegraph

Packages & Pricing

For Autumn & Summer Aurora packages and pricing, click here.

For Winter & Spring packages and pricing, click here.

The Beautiful Science of The Northern Lights with Melanie Windridge

Dancing Aurora @ Blachford Lake Lodge 9.14.2017