It’s awe-inspiring to witness the winter dance of the Northern Lights in jet black skies above the northern wilds of the Alaska Highway.
Also known as “Aurora Borealis,” the swirl of electro-magnetically charged particles that causes it travels all the way from the sun at super high speeds.
Unlit, the swarm of particles flies through space on solar winds and via “magnetic ropes connecting Earth’s upper atmosphere directly to the Sun,” according to evidence collected by NASA research satellites. As it hits the Earth’s polar atmospheres, it lights up in neon-like colour, leaving most of us spellbound.
In summer, unfortunately, when most people make the Alaska Highway road trip, the Northern Lights are tough to see. This is, after all, the land of the midnight sun. It’s a whiteout.
Don’t despair. You can see the Aurora on video at the Northern Lights Space and Science Centre, a unique, state-of-the-art facility in Watson Lake, Yukon.
Built in 1996, the Centre boasts state-of-the-art panoramic video and surround-sound systems.
“The spectacular dancing Northern Lights are showcased in Yukon’s Northern Lights, a video that is broadcast in the NLC’s domed 100-seat theatre daily throughout the summer season. During the winter season, nature puts on frequent displays of colorful lights outdoors so the Northern Lights Centre is used for community events, space science education, and movies,” according to the Centre’s website.
Schedule – Daily Shows
Daily, two-part presentations. Each ticket purchased at the Northern Lights Centre gives you admission to both Yukon’s Northern Lights and a space-related show on our new SciDome HD system.
Total running time: 1 hour
Shows start at: 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm, 6:30 pm, 7:30 pm and 8:30 pm.
SCIDOME HD 360° DOME
The Northern Lights Centre is pleased to feature a brand new SciDome HD system by Spitz, powered by Starry Night. The new HD system displays 3 million pixels. The two-projector SciDome HD delivers bright, high definition imagery. The show will be a space related show that is displayed on the 360° dome screen. We are the first in Canada to have this system.
YUKON’S NORTHERN LIGHTS
The beauty and majesty of the Aurora Borealis take centre stage featuring footage shot exclusively in the Yukon over a three-year period. This variety of Auroral motion and colour is set to music, creating an exciting and emotional tone for viewers. One of the highlights of the show is the scientific input regarding the known causes of the Aurora, as well as information and footage of the launch by NASA of the THEMIS mission to solve the Aurora mystery.
New to the centre is Viewspace a direct link to the Hubble space telescope on a 60″ flat screen TV. ViewSpace is an exhibit from the Space Telescope Science Institute, home of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope. It features an ever-changing kaleidoscope of inspiring and educational presentations of the latest and most beautiful in astronomy and space-based earth science. Free to the public in the lobby.
Chris Gale – Wild North Photos