Winter brings brightest aurora to Churchill

To see the best northern lights, you’ve got to hang out in the right circle – in this case, the auroral oval. This is the huge halo around the magnetic north pole where high-energy particles from the sun collide with gases in the earth’s atmosphere. As it happens, Churchill, MB is ideally placed within the scope of this oval. As the winter progresses, the atmospheric collisions produce an increasingly intense sky show of dancing curtains and ribbons of luminescent green, red and blue. Solar activity is on the upswing, approaching its highest levels in a decade. That means brighter Northern Lights and a greater frequency of their occurance, says the Canadian Space Agency. The current peak of activity, called the solar maximum, is expected to happen in 2012-2013. Tour operator Frontiers North Adventures has an eight-day, seven-night Northern Lights and Winter Nights program, operating Feb. 21-28 and March 22-29. It starts with arctic-orientation activities in Winnipeg followed by a flight to Churchill on the western shore of the Hudson Bay. (

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