Tromsø, Norway and the Northern Lights






You might have noticed that I started todays blog post with “Hei” instead of “Hej”, and that is because I am in Tromsø, Norway this week to study more about arctic biodiversity and how climate change is affecting the arctic. The journey by from Copenhagen was about an hour to Bergen, Norway with a two-hour layover and then finally a two-hour flight to Tromsø! After traveling for about half of a day, I was still extremely excited to arrive in Tromsø because that same night I had planned to go on a tour to see the Northern Lights. Ever since I was a little girl, it has always been on my checklist to see the Northern Lights. Little did I know back then that I would succeed with completing this dream and at the young age of 20 years old. I stayed up until 1am this night to see the northern lights but it was well worth it. It took about one hour of waiting and with seeing constant little collisions before I got to see a huge burst. I will never forget seeing the huge collisions above me creating quick flashes that fill the sky with colorful light green shades. The night-black ocean and the white snowclad mountain tops within the distance was a powerful and dramatic backdrop for this extremely special moment. The closest I could describe the tiny flashes moving throughout the sky is almost like a dancing movement between long strips of different green shades of light appearing and fading away quickly at a time. I also got to learn a lot of facts about the northern lights and their connection to science, culture, mysticism, and religious beliefs. The aurora borealis, or better known as the northern lights, means “dawn of the north”. The lights come from a zone high above the Earth’s surface and can be seen at night only in the artic regions located closely to the arctic circle. The phenomenon occurs when electrically charged particles from the sun are thrown into the atmosphere through the Earth’s own magnetic field and are pulled towards an oval area around each of the magnetic poles. The particles collide with air molecules, which mainly consist of oxygen and nitrogen, and between 100 and 300 kilometers from the Earth some of the collision’s energy is emitted as light. Apparently, this energy can travel from Tromsø all the way to London within 2 seconds. In Norway, in the Sami tradition the northern lights were believed to have a supernatural power that could be invoked in disputes. The Sami people also associated the northern lights with sound and have symbols from the northern lights on their shaman drums. These beliefs and other perceptions about the northern lights have always existed among the peoples living at the altitudes where the aurora is most often seen. Needless to say, the northern lights are lot more fascinating than just some pretty lights that you can see in the sky at nighttime. There is so much more importance behind them, and I very appreciative that I got to experience it in real life. According to my northern light chaser guide, I was fortunate enough to get a 8 out of 10 experience of these lights which is extremely lucky because it is never guaranteed if you will witness these lights. With that being said, are you interested in visiting Tromsø and seeing the northern lights? If not, I hope this blog post changes your mind.