The celestial lightshow known as the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, is the sort of spectacle that defies description, leaves jaws dropping and, if not life-changing, is at least life affirming.
The problem is that this interaction between the magnetic fields of the Earth and the Sun can be an elusive phenomenon. Surrounding light pollution, bad weather or an inconvenient cloudy night can all ruin the show.
Sometimes your best chance of seeing the majesty of the Northern Lights means getting above the clouds. Today’s Big Deal offers just that, with a sightseeing flight offering the opportunity to get up close and personal with this celestial miracle.
The sky at night
These flights, provided by Omega Breaks, head to the northern edge of British airspace, near the Shetlands, where there is negligible light pollution. At a height of 35,000-40,000 ft, you are above any rain or cloud that could impede your viewings. Your chances of a memorable viewing are enhanced considerably.
The Big Deal offers evening flights for one person, with a choice of departure from Edinburgh or Glasgow. The experience lasts around six hours and thirty minutes, beginning from 6pm, and starting with an illustrated presentation at the airport from expert astronomers before you board. You are in the air for around three to three and a half hours, depending on the departure airport. Light refreshments are served on board.
Flights depart from Edinburgh Airport on the 2nd November 2019 or 22nd March 2020 and Glasgow International Airport on 21st March 2020. The flights are scheduled to allow the best opportunity to see the Lights in their full glory. The dates coincide with darker times in the Moon’s phases, so that the glow of the Moon does not reduce the visibility of the Lights.
With the cabin lights dimmed, passengers are rewarded with a stunning view of the stars and constellations, and, apart from the Lights themselves, the views of the Milky Way are also breathtaking.
The Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon, and there are no cast-iron guarantees you will witness their full glory. The chances are very good though. Between 2008 and 2016 there was a good display of the Aurora Borealis on 84% of the flights.
To ensure the best conditions for viewing, the cabin is maintained in darkness for 25 minutes before arrival at the holding point, to allow eyes to adjust. To ensure everyone gets a fair chance to see the Lights, you are asked to swap seats several times during the viewing period.
This Northern Lights flight would be the ideal gift for any enthusiastic astronomer or Northern Lights aficionado. Soar above the clouds to experience the glory of this natural spectacle.