|Canadian Geographic January/February 2013|
The year 2013 is predicted to be a solar maximum with peak northern lights, especially in September!
There is an 11-year cycle to the sun and 2013 is the peak year this time around.
The Aurora Borealis or northern lights are created when eruptions on the sun's surface send ionized hydrogen atoms at hundreds of kilometres per second to Earth. This solar wind swirls into the planet's magnetic fields (north and south) and the particles speed into the ionosphere and fluoresce green and red and pink, 60 miles up. They make curtains of icicle-like lights that wave and tremble.
It is the greatest light show imaginable!
I didn't know until I read this issue of Canadian Geographic that Northwestern Ontario, actually, just about where Red Lake is located, is the southernmost point of the Auroral Oval. That's the area where the auroras typically occur. However, when the show is 60 miles overhead, it can be seen from a lot farther south than Red Lake too.
There's no guarantee that we will be treated to northern lights. They are famously fickle. However, since this is the peak of the 11-year cycle, there is a better-than-normal chance of seeing them.
You might want to bring a tripod for your camera. It will be necessary to photograph the lights. If you forget, I've got one I can loan you.
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