Magical Darkness, Northern Lights

Winter: 01.01.-29.02. and 01.12.-31.12.2016

The stars and the moonlight light up everything around you. Your eyes are used to the darkness now. The sun never rises above the horizon. The sky is a stage for the main performance everyone’s here to see. Blasts of green, purple, red and blue above you. The Northern Lights are out tonight. The atmosphere in the city of Longyearbyen is unique. Many are inside, by the fireplace. Life is a little bit slower this time of year. And that’s okay.

Northern lights safari with snowmobile

The starry sky unveils itself. You turn off your snowmobile, adjust to the dark. The northern lights are colouring the mountains and valleys green, blue, yellow. Then they disappear. It’s dark again. Then a new explosion – to the north! Purple lightning shoots across the sky and lands to the south. But now, the light is blue. It’s a magic symphonic ballet without a single sound.

Dog sledding under the Northern Lights

Up and down. You feel the terrain as the dogs are running. A movement of light in the sky grabs your attention. You can barely see it. It’s faint. Like a distant memory. But it grows, soon intense and vibrant. It’s powerful, hypnotic, impossible to ignore. Wonder if the dogs see the lights too. The quiet is loud as you see the see the magic from the lights high above.

Snow-shoeing to the Lars Glacier Cave

Thank god for snow-shoes! Without these nifty inventions you’d be thigh-deep in the white stuff by now, instead you stride confidently forward, on top of the drifts. You’re a Polar explorer, heading up the mountain, looking ahead for the Lars Glacier. You see the entrance up ahead and can’t help but wonder – what will the inside of a glacier look like?

Northern Lights Evening

The fireplace is roaring. The wind outside is howling. A hot plate of reindeer stew is served. The Camp Barentz guide is talking about the explorers who discovered Spitsbergen in 1596. For a moment, you’ve travelled back in time. Back to a time when Svalbard was undiscovered. There are whispers around the table. Someone was just outside. The whispers grow with excitement: They’re here. The Northern Lights!

Hunting the Northern Lights

It’s dark. You’re outside. Everything is quiet. You see a huge satellite dish and antennas adorning the mountaintop. Equipment. Technology to monitor the aurora borealis – the northern lights. Chances are good that you will see one tonight, the guide says. You look up. Nothing. But then, a ghostly movement of light in the sky. Here it comes.