Staying warm while taking in Aurora Borealis

For maximum effect, the northern lights are best viewed in winter, but it can be a very chilly endeavour. Northern lights seekers who want to stay warm can consider visiting the Churchill Northern Studies Centre in Manitoba for its Winter Skies tour. Natural light permeates 90% of the centre’s interior space and a solar wall heats incoming ventilation air for the unusual trapezoid-shaped building. Amenities include sleeping quarters, cafeteria, laboratories and classrooms. The “Winter Skies: Aurora and Astronomy in Churchill”program will operate Feb. 16-21 and March 1-6. Evening talks by an astronomer are followed by viewing of the northern lights from the comfort of the centre’s enclosed viewing lounge, which is covered by an eight-foot-diametre clear-acrylic dome. Alternatively, visitors can watch the lights from an open-air, second-story deck that wraps around a corner of the building. A cost of $1,025 includes lodging in four-person dormitory-style bunk-bed rooms with shared baths, excursions, lectures, local transportation, and three cafeteria meals daily. Linens are provided, but toiletries are not. During daylight hours, guests can snowshoe, experience a dogsled ride, visit the Eskimo Museum, etc. (