Winter 2013 / 14 departure dates confirmed:
5 day Arctic highlights - 2nd Dec (LGW), 4th Dec (MAN), 26th Jan (LGW) - plese ask for possibilities of alternative dates.
12 day Astronomy Voyage - February 20th
Download the Astro Trails 2013/14 brochure.
The Arctic Highlights voyage spends its entirety within the Arctic Circle giving you not only the best opportuniy to see the Northern lights but also to take part in some fantastic winter excursions. Flying directly into Tromsø, the Gateway to the Arctic, your airport transfer will take you directly to the quayside where your ship will be waiting to take you north.
Flight INCLUSIVE price for the 5 day Northern Lights Arctic Highlights cruise starts at £995 including half board accomodation on the ship.
In February 2014 we will be heading into Arctic Norway in order to see the spectacular light display that is the Aurora Borealis. Norway is known as having the best 'seats' for the show, and our viewing locations of Tromsø, Hammerfest and Kirkenes are renowned as the most spectacular points from which to view the Northern Lights.
From our starting point in Bergen, we will be cruising up the Norwegian coastline, exploring the magical Fjords and a selection of carefully chosen highlights en route to reaching the border with Russia in the extreme North East.
Flight INCLUSIVE price for the 12 day Northern Lights Astronomy Voyage starts at £1,855 per person including full board accomodation on the ship.
Your on board lecturer for the Astronomy Voyage:
Dr John Mason, MBE
An Applied Physicist by profession, Dr John Mason has been actively involved in Science for over 30 years, with Astronomy, Astrophysics and Space Technology as his main interests. He is currently Principal Lecturer at the South Downs Planetarium in Chichester, has been a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society since 1976, and is a full member of the International Astronomical Union. He lectures extensively in the UK and overseas on a wide range of scientifi topics and is a frequent broadcaster on radio and television, having appeared many times with Sir Patrick Moore on BBC TV's 'The Sky at Night.'
WHAT ARE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS?
The Northern Lights, the sky’s own light show, have always been the object of great wonder to mankind. Legend has it; the Northern Lights have been seen as everything from evil spirits to celestial wars with their marching armies. These beautiful displays have, over time, given rise to a wealth of works of art, myths, legends and stories.
The Northern Lights are caused by charged gas particles that flow away from the Sun as a "solar wind" and interact with the Earth's magnetic field. The charged particles "excite" gases in our atmosphere and make make them glow, just like gas in a fluorescent tube. The colours depend on the type of gas, a red or green glow is oxygen and the blue and purple colours are produced by nitrogen. The solar wind reacts with the earths magnetic field in a doughnut shaped area around the north pole (the auroral oval) and you need to be within sight of this area to see the lights.
The appearance of the aurora is closely connected to activity on the sun. This activity usually changes over a cycle of around eleven years and after a quiet period of several years (a solar minimum) the sun has now become active again. This activity is expected to increase for the next two to three years, before again declining.
Also known as the Aurora Borealis, which means ‘dawn of the north’, the Aurora can appear abruptly, filling the sky at incredible speed with great arcs, as ghostly wisps in green, yellow, red and violet dance above the horizon, before disappearing again.
The Inuit of Greenland believed the lights came from the realm of the dead, caused by the spirits trying to contact their living relatives, and Norwegian sailors believe the displays were the souls of young maiden’s waving and dancing in the night’s sky. The Danes believed the Northern Lights to be swans that had strayed too far north and got stuck in the ice. As they struggled to break free, each stroke of their wings was reflected in the sky, forming the Northern Lights. Whatever explanation to this natural phenomenon, everyone who has seen the Northern Lights have been caught in awe by this magical display, a celestial show which truly needs to be seen to be believed.
The BBC made a documentary featuring Joanna Lumley going in search of the Northern Lights that the Norwegian Tourist Board now features on it's website.
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