Home - Destination - News

The sky is awake

The Northern Lights explained to children

[Tripper: Paola]
ITScienziati per un giornoTromso

Once in a lifetime you have to see the Northern lights. It takes a bit of luck to find the clear sky and to seize a period with intense solar activity, for the rest the show is guaranteed. Of course you have to go to the Nordic lands during the winter when the polar night manages to best enhance the phenomenon. But do not be put off by the low temperatures and snow, just equip yourself properly and you can enjoy without compromise an experience capable of leaving a mark.
But what really happens in the sky when you create that wonderful dance of lights, known as the aurora polar?

Tromso - Norvegia

Tromso - Norway

L'aurora polare sul pavimento di casa

The polar aurora on the floor of the house

Explaining complex natural phenomena to children requires a certain amount of imagination. We must be able to find words and images that simplify the concepts and perhaps the best approach remains to explain by playing.
In every home, where there are children, there is no shortage of balls of any color and size, rubbery, plastic, smooth and rough. They are perfect aids for a DIY explanation. A yellow ball, a little bigger than the others, can be the Sun; a smaller one, preferably in shades of green and blue, becomes Earth. A series of much smaller balls can represent the particles of the solar wind while another series of balls, placed near the earth's poles, represents the molecules of the atmosphere: oxygen and nitrogen above all.
The phenomenon occurs when the solar wind balls hit the atmospheric balls. At that moment the balls of the atmosphere steal the wind's energy, and get excited for their theft. Oxygen and nitrogen, however, know that it is a stolen energy and shortly thereafter they decide to return it.
What they invent to do it is magical: to make sure everyone knows that they have returned the stolen energy, they transform it into light: oxygen emits a green light, nitrogen a rose. This happens when the sky wakes up in the middle of the polar night!

To enjoy the phenomenon to the fullest, the best is to reach a place far from city lights and then be patient. The wait is full of expectation and when the sky explodes forget about nitrogen, oxygen, solar wind and all the rest and let yourself be carried away by the imagination towards the thousand legends that revolve around the polar dawn.
We have lived the experience with the polar aurora in Norway, starting as a base from Tromso. We preferred to hunt for auroras entrusting ourselves to a local operator who took us to very suggestive locations and supported us with useful advice on how to photograph a polar aurora.
The tour had a maximum of 16 participants and left at 18:00 to return to base not before 1:00 in the morning. It was a dynamic tour, i.e. planned to travel to find the best weather conditions. Some tours are instead static, i.e. directed towards a fixed base camp. Typically, organizations provide customers with thermal clothing to face the cold of the Arctic night and boots for walking in the snow, unless you already have them.
To warm you up there will also be hot tea and biscuits.
In one of the locations, we reached the beach on the fjord and made ourselves comfortable observing the sky, lying on mats provided by the organization. In another location, however, we lit a fire and ate a hot dinner, previously chosen from a menu with various options.
The whole evening was such a memorable one that we would recommend it to everyone.
Have a good trip!

Aurora Polare sul fiordo

Aurora polaris over the fjord

Giulia con l

Giulia with the Aurora

Scenari magici nella regione di Tromso

Magical scenarios - Tromso region

Simone con l

Simone with the Aurora