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11 Best Places to See the Northern Lights

While many in the United States might be sick of the cold, some of the coldest regions in the world have their own awe-inspiring natural beauty to warm the heart and soul. For anyone planning a cold weather adventure, you may consider one of these prime viewing locations, because while there are many places where one can see the Northern Lights, they are best viewed in particular parts of the world.

CNN Travel writer Maggie Wong compiles the 11 top viewing spots in her recent article: Jokulsarlon, Iceland; Fairbanks, Alaska, United States; Paatsjoki, Finnish Lapland; Unstad, Lofoten, Norway; Cairngorms National Park, Scotland; Kangerlussuaq, Greenland; Yellowknife, Canada; Tromsø, Norway; Abisko, Sweden; Muonio, Finnish Lapland; Southern Hemisphere, End of a Contentment.

The Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon that many people are familiar with, but not everyone understands. Better known as “the Northern Lights” the natural event is referred to by scientists as an aurora. Wikipedia describes an aurora:

“Auroras are produced when the magnetosphere is sufficiently disturbed by the solar wind that the trajectories of charged particles in both solar wind and magnetospheric plasma, mainly in the form of electrons and protons, precipitate them into the upper atmosphere (thermosphere/exosphere), where their energy is lost. The resulting ionization and excitation of atmospheric constituents emits light of varying colour and complexity. The form of the aurora, occurring within bands around both polar regions, is also dependent on the amount of acceleration imparted to the precipitating particles. Precipitating protons generally produce optical emissions as incident hydrogen atoms after gaining electrons from the atmosphere. Proton auroras are usually observed at lower latitudes.”