Econo Lodge Inn & Suites - High Level Motel Blog


Look Up

posted by: High Level Hotels on: September 29, 2013 12:29:54 PM

Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo) 
[CC-BY-2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Northern Alberta communities like High Level are always prime spots to gaze up at the night sky and watch the swirling light show that is aurora borealis. But this autumn, the Northern Lights could put on an even more spectacular performance.

NASA updated its prediction last spring on when conditions will be most favorable for viewing the phenomenon. Originally, the space agency said that the period of ‘solar maximum’ would take place in April or May of 2013. But now, scientists say that there will be two peaks in solar activity: the first one took place already in early 2012 while the second is due this autumn.

And this late solar surge might mean that travelers will have more opportunities to see the Northern Lights even into 2015. Visitors to High Level already rave about how easy it is to witness aurora borealis – all you need is a clear sky. But if you’re heading our way soon, be prepared for an extra-impressive display of bright, pulsating light.

Why the lights are so bright in High Level
If you were to look at a map, the Northern Lights occur in an oval-shaped area located above the magnetic pole. The best spots to see the lights are within this “auroral oval”. And High Level is right in the middle of it. In fact, Canada has most of the world’s best locations to gaze at the Northern Lights.

And more areas further south will likely to be able to see the show this year as well because of the increased solar activity. So if you’re driving up to High Level from Edmonton, steal a quick glance up at the evening sky.

Typically, the best time of year to see aurora borealis is from late September to early March. But even during a ‘solar maximum’, it’s impossible to be 100% sure that you’ll see a light show.

What causes the Northern Lights
This spellbinding spectacle is created by collisions between gaseous particles in our atmosphere with charged particles released from the sun’s atmosphere. All those different colours are a result of different types of gas particles colliding. For example, nitrogen produces blue or purple aurora while oxygen molecules create yellow-green aurora.

If you’re planning on dropping by the region while this amazing light show is on, settle into one of our comfortable High Level hotels before the spectacle begins.