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page 60 Talk to the experts 01737 214 257 55Our top 5 things you should know about the northern lightsHow Do I Photograph Them? Generally you'll need a tripod as exposures from several seconds to almost 20 give the best results. SLR camera users should try a wide angle lens with a wide aperture as well as setting their ISO levels to high - for further tips visit our website. On your winter holiday you'll see numerous books and postcards showing spectacular night skies but these have been put together by people with years of experience - not to say that complete novices don't succeed - we've had some amazing shots sent in to us by first timers! But more often than not, people tend to simply stand beneath a display and marvel at its magnificence - also beats having to take your gloves off to try and work your camera!Will I Definitely See Them? Most people appreciate the northern lights are a natural phenomenon and we can't turn them on for you! But what we can do is get you to locations across the northern hemisphere where sightings are generally known to be better than anywhere else. And what's more, those places have plenty of things to see and do during the day whilst you are not star gazing. Patience is the key as well as a clear, cloudless winter's night. Displays can occur any time from around 5pm but most activity tends to be a little later - fortunately on many of our holidays featured in this brochure you can opt to be woken during the night so you don't miss a thing! Why Are Displays Different Colours? Most people lucky enough to see the aurora will witness a display of neon green lights. If you are really lucky then that display might be yellow and red, or even multi-coloured. The differences depend on two main factors: what type of gas is reacting with the solar particles and at what altitude this activity is taking place. Most of it occurs 100-200km above the Earth - a level where 'excited' nitrogen atoms glow green and blue. And above 200km, oxygen atoms glow red when reacting with charged particles from the Sun. What Is So Special About 2012-13? You may have heard about the Sunspot Cycle and how it is linked to sightings of the northern lights. The cycle is generally around 11 years and this coming season it reaches its peak, the Solar Max. Sunspots are temporary dark patches which are cooler than the rest of the surface of the Sun and when these increase in number, so too does the amount of solar flare activity and the subsequent possibility of auroral displays. This doesn't mean you won't see displays during other periods of the cycle, as activity is constant, just that displays at the peak may be more intense or more frequent. And if sightings experienced over the last season are anything to go by, then this coming season should see some incredible displays. What Are The Northern Lights? Solar flares are explosions ejected by the Sun. These flares contain charged particles and if they head our way, carried on a solar wind, Earth's magnetic fields divert them. Most disappear into space but if some enter our upper atmosphere, around the Polar Regions where those magnetic fields converge, then these charged particles react with the gases found there. These magnetic fields create auroral ovals around the top and bottom of our planet which move and distort as the Earth rotates and solar flare activity increases. You have to be within an auroral oval for a chance of seeing this particle/gas reaction hence why you need to travel north. Please remember that witnessing a display of the aurora cannot be guaranteed even when conditions seem just right. Displays should be seen as a bonus to your winter break. Visit our website for more information about the northern lights and see remarkable images that will no doubt inspire you to travel north this winter.© Sara Winter

6 All our holidays are bound by our Terms & Conditions, which can be found on our websiteChoosing the Right DestinationFor many people, the Arctic holds a deep fascination, it has for us for almost 30 years. And whilst we continue to operate an unrivalled collection of year round holidays across the region, quite a number of our clients prefer to visit during the winter months.It is hard to put your finger on what lures people to the far north at this time of year. For some it's the untouched, snow-laden scenery and the chance of a relaxing, romantic getaway. For others it's the howl of the huskies, the opportunity to drive a snowmobile or try other snowy activities. And for many, witnessing the surreal and enchanting northern lights is their dream. Fortunately all the carefully chosen itineraries in this brochure aim to provide optimum northern lights viewing opportunities but as we've mentioned previously, sightings can never be guaranteed and should always be seen as a bonus to any trip. Our knowledge of the places, people and pastimes you can visit, meet and experience in this surprisingly diverse region, sets us apart from other operators. Whether you are an independently minded traveller or prefer to choose something 'off the peg', let our experience be your guide. And whatever you are seeking for your winter holiday, we are confident we can help you find it.Take a look at the holidays in this brochure, browse the full collection on our website or contact one of our expert travel specialists and we'll help you decide where to go this winter. ©