A Guide To The Northern Lights In Russia: Seeing Aurora Is Easier And Cheaper Than We Thought

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Video: A Guide To The Northern Lights In Russia: Seeing Aurora Is Easier And Cheaper Than We Thought

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A Guide To The Northern Lights In Russia: Seeing Aurora Is Easier And Cheaper Than We Thought
A Guide To The Northern Lights In Russia: Seeing Aurora Is Easier And Cheaper Than We Thought
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To look at the green-purple flashes in the sky is a dream that thousands of people dream of on New Year's Eve. Prices and distances often make it seem impossible. Although in reality everything is more accessible than it seems. You don't have to fly to Norway, Iceland or Finland. You can also watch the northern lights here in Russia. Half of the country crosses the Arctic Circle, so Aurora “dances” both in Karelia and Chukotka.

The BeautyHack editors have compiled their list of places where it is most convenient to hunt for a heavenly show. We did not include Yakutia or Taimyr in it, although there are more chances of catching the glow there. But it is very far and expensive to get to. And it's cold there. At -45 °, not every camera will turn on, and you need beautiful pictures, right? Therefore, in the rating there are only those regions, a trip to which will not ruin and turn into the Snow Queen.

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Difficulty level: for beginners

Teriberka, Murmansk region

How to get there: from Moscow to Murmansk by plane (4300 rubles round trip, fly 2.5 hours) or by train (from 2300 rubles, one way 35 hours). Further by bus (350 rubles, 4 hours on the road), by taxi (from 2500 rubles) or a rented car (from 2200 rubles + petrol).

Where to live: rent an apartment in Teriberka (from 1,000 rubles) or stay in Murmansk - there you can find a decent hotel (from 2,000 rubles) and daily housing.

Features: in the region there are a huge number of places where the polar lights are visible: Pechenga, Zaozersk, Vidyaevo, Kandalaksha, Severomorsk. And around Murmansk the chances are great, the main thing is to drive away from the city lights. But most often tourists prefer Teriberka. The accent, by the way, is on “and”, otherwise the locals are offended. This is a village with a population of less than a thousand people, located on the coast of the Kola Peninsula. Nearby - the Barents Sea, dozens of lakes and rivers. But the roads and cities are far away, thanks to this, the flashes are clearly visible and in the pictures they turn out perfectly. Especially in the reflection of the water surface.

Severodvinsk, Arkhangelsk region s

How to get there: by plane from Moscow to Arkhangelsk (6900 rubles round trip, on the way - 2 hours) or by train (from 3000 rubles round trip, one way trip will take 20 hours), then by bus (150 rubles, go 1, 5 hours) or by train (850 rubles).

Where to live: in a hostel or hotel in Severodvinsk (900-2000 rubles).

Features: sometimes "blazes" in the regional center. But to be sure to catch the glow, it is better to go to the north of the region. About 180 thousand people live in the city itself. Lanterns, billboards, headlights and windows of houses will "extinguish" the glow, so locals advise to watch the phenomenon on the banks of the Dvinskaya Bay, near the islands. Nothing will interfere there, and landscapes will complement the picture.

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Naryan-Mar, Arkhangelsk region

How to get there: by plane from Moscow to Naryan-Mar (from 12,000 rubles round trip, fly in only 2.5 hours) or by train to Usinsk (from 6,000 rubles, about 36 hours to go) and then by hitchhiking or taxi (from 800 rubles), buses rarely run.

Where to live: in a hotel or a rented apartment (from 2000 rubles).

Peculiarities: the only city in the Nenets Autonomous Okrug is located beyond the Arctic Circle, and there are frosts there until May. In winter, the temperature sometimes drops to -45 °. But because of the location, weather and minimal illumination, Aurora is especially beautiful there. Shimmers in several shades, from bright green to pale purple, and shimmers. It is most convenient to observe such a "rainbow" on the banks of the Pechora. At the same time, you can ask for a visit to the nomads, who set up camps from tents outside the city and graze reindeer.

Labytnangi, Yamal

How to get there: by plane from Moscow to Salekhard (12,000 rubles round trip, 2.5-3 hours on the way), then by bus or all-terrain vehicles on air cushions (100 rubles, half an hour ride), or from the capital by train to Labytnangi (4000 rubles round trip, on the road 44 hours one way)

Where to live: in a hotel in Salekhard (from 1,500 rubles) or in a rented apartment in Labytnangi (there are only two hotels there and they cost, on average, 3,500 rubles).

Features: it is worth going away from the administrative center with the same purpose as in other regions: the more electric light, the worse the green "waves" are visible. Therefore, the ideal option is a small settlement, such as the city of Labytnangi or the village of Kharp. There "fox lights" (this is what the Saami call the radiance) will be visible in winter, spring and autumn. It is better to inquire in advance about the weather forecast, the absolute minimum temperature, which is recorded here, is -54 ° С.

By the way, local authorities expect to compete for the title of the capital of Aurora Borealis in 2020. Tourists will be offered package tours and discounts on accommodation during the season. Nearby, in a 20-minute drive, there is a ski complex, in the afternoon you can ski on the slopes.

Difficulty level: for advanced tourists

Belomorsk, Karelia

How to get there: by plane from Moscow to Petrozavodsk (from 2000 rubles round trip, on the way - 1.5 hours) or by train (from 2500 rubles, about 12 hours to go). Further - by train to Belomorsk (from 2200 rubles, 6-9 hours on the road).

Where to live: in a hotel or in a rented apartment (1,500 rubles).

Peculiarities: sometimes Aurora leaves her green "strokes" over Petrozavodsk. But it is better to go to follow her art in smaller cities. For example, in Kem or Belomorsk. Professional photographers go even further. In the village of Chupa, with a population of 2000 people, you can find hotels and houses for rent. But in the village of Nilmogub on the shore of the Kandalaksha Bay, where only nine families live permanently, do not count on a night's lodging. There is a hostel, a hotel, and even a diving club, but this often does not work in winter. And to go from Petrozavodsk to the village along not the most reliable roads and wooden bridges for more than 500 km. But, they say, such rich colors are rarely found anywhere. Therefore, it is best to stay in Belomorsk, but in search of radiance, go away from the city.

Vorkuta, Komi

How to get there: by plane from Moscow to Vorkuta with a transfer in Syktyvkar (from 15,700 rubles round trip, about 3.5 hours on the way + docking) or by train (from 5,000 rubles, about 40 hours to go).

Where to live: in a hotel or a rented apartment (from 1500 rubles).

Features: finding a decent hotel, cafes and roads in the capital of Komi, Syktyvkar, is easy. But for the clouds of the color of summer green there will have to chase. Therefore, it is better to immediately go to the more northern and harsh Vorkuta, there are more chances there. Keep in mind - the city is small, only 56 thousand inhabitants, there are not so many hotels. Therefore, it is better to book in advance. Locals advise hiring experienced drivers and tour guides for country trips. Tourists often rent cars and try to catch fires on their own. But during dusk, the road merges with the side of the road, newcomers go out of the way and get stuck in the snow for several hours. Getting bogged down to the very roof at −30 ° is not an adventure.

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Khibiny, Kola Peninsula, Murmansk region

How to get there: by plane from Moscow to the Khibiny airport in the city of Apatity (12,300 rubles round trip, one-way flight - 2.5 hours) or by train (about 5,000 rubles, 32 hours on the way).

Where to live: in an apartment or hotel in Kirovsk or Apatity (from 1000 rubles).

Features: The Khibiny Mountains are located just south of Murmansk and are considered one of the best places for observing color overflows. Firstly, there is almost no light pollution, and secondly, on a hill, the heavenly illumination is seen much better. Of the minuses, the infrastructure is almost undeveloped. That is, you will have to get from the city to the peaks first by off-road vehicles, then by snowmobiles. In this case, it can be avalanche, and at open points the wind can blow at a speed of up to 50 m / s. Many hotels in the nearest town - Kirovsk - close in winter, and during the holidays it is quite difficult to find a free room. But few will leave there without gorgeous shots with shine. Another plus is that in that area you can ride a sled with reindeer or huskies, learn snowboarding and skiing, and go ice fishing.

What is this shine

During a solar flare, a mass of particles is thrown into space. When they hit atmospheric particles, they transfer an electrical charge to them, causing them to glow. The Earth's magnetic field attracts them to the poles, so the sky glows in the polar regions. The planet has two poles, so there are as many auroras. That is, it would be more correct to call it not the northern lights, but the polar, because the southern also exists. It's just more difficult to see it: there are almost no inhabited places in those parts.

When is the best time to go

Aurora "blazes" in the period from the autumn (September 22-23) to the spring equinox (March 20-21). Sometimes appears in August. But it is best seen in cold weather: from November to February. The ideal time of day for observation and filming is from 10 pm to 3 am. Wait for clear weather and get away from cities, to the north.

There is no magic toggle switch that includes emerald stripes in the sky. Therefore, you will have to watch them. Most accurately, you can "predict" a natural phenomenon 2-5 days before its occurrence. After solar flares, the chances of seeing the northern lights are tripled.

Where to keep track of space weather forecasts

Guidebooks recommend the sites of the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences or the Institute of Terrestrial Magnetism. But, let's be honest, to understand the index of solar activity there is like passing the exam in physics without preparation. Much clearer are the graphics on the Radiance Hunter Portal.

It's even easier to use phone apps like My Aurora Forecast or Northern Eye Aurora Forecast. They are available for both iOS and Android. Everything is clear in them: if the K-index is higher than 4-5, it's time to throw a camera into your backpack and move out.

What to take with you

- Thermal underwear, heated insoles, an electric heating pad - and in general everything that will allow you to survive the frosts in the Arctic;

- Several thermoses with tea and a snack;

- Flashlights;

- Good camera and fast wide-angle lens, - Spare batteries and batteries - in the cold they discharge several times faster;

- Tripod - you will be able to remove flashes only with a long exposure.

Text: Tatiana Chernikova

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