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Posts Tagged ‘Northern Lights’

2013 should be a great year at Churchill Wild for Aurora Borealis!

Aurora Borealis / Northern Lights at Seal River Lodge, Manitoba, Canada

2013 should be a great year at the Lodge for the Northern Lights!

2013 is being forecast as an unbelievable opportunity for star gazers to witness an Aurora Borealis year like few others. Churchill Wild is hoping for just that!

Just as the earth has cycles which we call seasons, the sun’s energy output also has changes. These changes occur roughly every 11 years. We call these changes the solar cycle. During the last cycle, there were few magnetic storms on the sun, sunspots were rare, and geomagnetic disturbances on earth were nearly nonexistent. We are now however, five years into a solar maximum cycle which is approaching its projected peak in 2013.

As far back as 2006, solar scientists began predicting that our next solar maximum would be one of the strongest yet. The next sunspot cycle will be 30% to 50% stronger than the previous one. If correct, the year ahead could produce a burst of solar activity second only to the historic Solar Max of 1958. So what can happens during this predicted solar season?Northern-Lights

Sunspots increase and harbor more energy. At times, this energy is released in the form of coronal mass ejections (CMEs). A CME consists of plasma from the sun itself — electrons and protons — with an accompanying magnetic field.

When the charged particles strike the earth’s magnetosphere, they travel down the magnetic field lines to the poles, colliding with atoms in our atmosphere along the way. These collisions can create an Aurora Borealis display that can incredibly be seen as far south as Mexico during strong solar events.

Everyone here at Churchill Wild is keeping their fingers crossed for clear and cloudless nights in 2013, so we can all enjoy the show.

One of the best places in the north to see the Aurora Borealis is at Dymond Lake Eco-Lodge in our custom made Aurora Viewing Platform during our Great Ice Bear Adventure. Spots are filling up for this one-of-a-kind wilderness safari as Aurora and polar bear enthusiasts worldwide are anticipating an incredible viewing season.

We hope you’ll join us!

Top African Safari Guide Ian Johnson visits Seal River Heritage Lodge

It was almost a year ago that we met with Ian Johnson of Epic Private Journeys in the Johannesburg Airport and chatted about “stepping out” of the warm safari scene in Africa and organizing a slightly more chilling expedition in the form of an Arctic Safari.

One of Africa’s top professional guides and photographers, Ian was true to his word, and ventured over to visit us with friends Soren and Egler from Shanghai, to experience an arctic adventure with our great ice bears.

Below normal temperatures, down to -38 C with the wind chill, delighted the polar bears during Ian’s visit, and resulted in very quick ice formations reminiscent of the ’80s. As a result, the bears began their steady trek out onto the frozen surface of Hudson Bay.

Everyone agreed that the early accumulation of ice and snow cover created some incredible sea and landscapes as a fantastic backdrop for our bears and foxes. As the bears ventured back out onto the ice we were able to get some over the top shots that included the new ice formations.

Thanks for visiting Ian, Soren and Egler!

Ian Johnson Photos


Northern Lights: Sky Pirouettes of the Aurora Borealis

Northern Lights at Churchill Wild's Polar Bear Lodge

Northern Lights at Churchill Wild's Polar Bear Lodge

Guest Post by Tess Pajaron

You may have heard the phenomenon referred to as the Northern Lights, but whatever you want to call it, the Aurora Borealis is an amazing sight that every traveler should experience.

This natural light show will take your breath away, putting to shame any laser show you might see at a rock concert. The most common color you will see is a yellow-green glow, but reds and blues may also be scattered about the night sky in all different shapes and forms that you will never forget.

What causes Aurora Borealis to occur? A constant stream of electrically charged particles called the “solar wind” that travel to the earth from the sun. When these particles reach the earth’s atmosphere, they smash into atoms and release energy. This energy is what causes the brilliant light show known as Aurora Borealis.

Where Should You Go to Get the Best View of the Aurora Borealis?

The Aurora Borealis is called the Northern Lights because it happens near the North Pole. It’s is a good idea to try and get as far north as possible. In North America, Canada is a perfect place to get a great view of this amazing event. Plan a trip for between September and November, the best months to view the Aurora Borealis in all its natural beauty.

Once in Canada, the key to seeing this stunning phenomenon is to get yourself as far away from any urban areas as possible. The man-made lights of the city block your ability to see the full display of natural light that the Aurora Borealis gives off. Getting away from this urban “light pollution” can be the difference between seeing just a glimpse of the Northern Lights, and getting the full experience of this one-of-a-kind natural light show.

Where Should You Stay When You Travel to See the Aurora Borealis?

As you now know, staying in the city is not a great idea if you want to experience the Northern Lights. However, there are some amazing lodges in the Canadian wilderness that are perfect for viewing the Aurora Borealis.

You might want to check out Churchill Wild, a company that offers an incredible wilderness experience complete with your choice of a few different lodges. Fly in to one of their remote locations for their trademark polar bear safaris and stay right in the middle of the wild. Their Seal River Heritage Lodge, Dymond Lake Eco-Lodge, and Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge are all perfect viewing spots along the Hudson Bay.

While at the lodges, there are many other things to see and do in addition to viewing the Aurora Borealis. And you don’t even have to rough it. Their lodges are full of creature comforts, offering gourmet meals and comfortable private rooms.

Your safari with Churchill Wild starts with a commercial flight from Winnipeg to Churchill. The breathtaking charter journey to the lodges will give you a bird’s eye view of the vast land you are about to explore. But don’t worry, the flight is low enough that you can see all of the amazing animals you will be flying over.

Once at the lodge, there will be many daytime activities to choose from. Churchill Wild specializes in polar bear viewing, which is definitely something that anyone who takes a trip to the Canadian wilderness should check out.

Tess Pajaron

Tess Pajaron

Walking and hiking tours through the surrounding areas are also provided. Then at night, you will have a front row seat to the awe-inspiring natural spectacle of the Aurora Borealis!

Tess Pajaron is part of the team behind OpenColleges. She has traveled to many different countries and loves to discover new and exciting places.

Cape Tatnam mission accomplished! Another first for Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge!

Cape Tatnam - Nature at its Finest

Cape Tatnam - Nature at its Finest

Yesterday Albert (Butch) Saunders and Mike Reimer completed their first overland expedition by ATV from Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge to the legendary Cape Tatnam.

Mike was complaining of a sore backside after the 135 km “jaunt” but the many sightings of polar bears and a black wolf within 20 meters helped ease the pain. Butch pointed out that his grandfather and his uncles had walked this coastline on many a hunting trip in days gone by, so we certainly were not the first people there. And we did find evidence of old camp sites, which was very interesting.

The spectacular beaches and sand dunes at Cape Tatnam rival some the finest beaches in Mexico. But these beaches also provide a beautiful if slightly surreal setting for polar bears. Many bear dens – day beds actually – were investigated on the dunes, further proof that this is obviously a major resting area for the polar bears when they first come off the sea ice. All the polar bears sighted appeared to be healthy and in excellent condition.

Thank you Mother Nature, for another wild and wonderful Churchill Wild adventure!

Incredible Northern Lights at Seal River Heritage Lodge for Churchill Wild’s Arctic Safari

World renowned professional photographer Charles Glatzer is at Seal River Heritage Lodge right now sampling Churchill Wild’s first ever Arctic Safari. Charles circulated this picture to some friends, as well as Churchill Wild staff & guests:

Charles Glatzer's Northern Lights at Seal River Heritage Lodge (click to enlarge)

You can see more of Charles’ incredible work on his website and blog.

The Arctic Safari is Churchill Wild’s most ambitious adventure. When it was announced last May it immediately sold out!

Fashioned after a traditional African safari, Churchill Wild owner Mike Reimer saw an opportunity to offer Churchill Wild’s own version of “The Big Five” in the arctic. Set against the visually stunning fall colors of early September, the Arctic Safari promises to be an all encompassing encounter with endless photo opportunities and arctic wildlife experiences.

A small window in early September provides the perfect apex to see the widest variety of wildlife and brilliant displays of Aurora Borealis. The Arctic Safari takes you over 20,000 square kilometers of the wildest regions in the Arctic; providing the potential of seeing wolves, caribou, moose, three species of bears (polar, black and grizzly), beluga whales, arctic and colored fox, wolverine, beaver, pine marten and arctic birds.

To find out more about the Arctic Safari or other polar bear watching tours offered by Churchill Wild check out the website. Every adventure offered by Churchill Wild includes the one-of-a-kind access of walking with polar bears, on the ground, up close & personal (and safe).