Seasonal Challenges Winter Scavenger Challenge: Northern Lights
Winter Seasonal Scavenger Challenge: The Northern Lights
Duration: December 21, 2017 - March 20, 2018
You’ve probably heard of the Northern Lights, also known as “Aurora borealis,” but what causes these spectacular displays? Read on to find out!
1. Collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earth's atmosphere cause the bright dancing lights of the aurora. The lights are seen above the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres. They are known as 'Aurora borealis' in the north and 'Aurora australis' in the south.
❃ Read a book with the sun or a sunny scene on its cover (remember to post the cover) OR read a book whose title starts with a letter in LIGHTS (exclude "a" "an" "the").
2. In Roman myths, Aurora was the goddess of the dawn. Hence, 'Aurora borealis' (northern lights) means 'dawn of the north' and 'Aurora australis' (southern lights) means 'dawn of the south.’
❃ Read a book that takes place in ancient Rome or mentions a goddess of any kind (tell us her name) OR read a book with “NORTH” or “SOUTH” in its title (“Northern” or “Southern” will work as well.)
3. The vast majority of auroras occur in a band known as the Auroral Zone which is found between the latitudes of 66 to 69 degrees north -- a sliver of the world that includes northern Alaska, northern Canada, bits of Greenland, northern Scandinavia and northern Russia.
❃ Read a book whose author’s last initial is found in “ZONE” OR read a book with an intact number between 66 – 69 in its total page count (66, 67, 68, 69 – i.e. 268 works, 628 does not).
4. Variations in color are due to the type of gas particles that are colliding. The most common auroral color, a pale yellowish-green, is produced by oxygen molecules located about 60 miles above the earth. Rare, all-red auroras are produced by high-altitude oxygen. Nitrogen produces blue or purplish-red auroras. Shades of red, yellow, green, blue, and violet have been reported. The lights appear in many forms from scattered clouds of light to streamers, arcs, rippling curtains or shooting rays that light up the sky with an eerie glow.
❃ Read a book with a brightly colored cover (must be at least 3 different colors) OR read a book with a “colorful” character; tell us about the character.
5. Auroral activity is cyclic, peaking roughly every 11 years. The last peak period was 2013, so if seeing the Northern Lights is on your bucket list, start planning now for 2024. Winter in the north is generally a good season to view lights. The long periods of darkness and the frequency of clear nights provide many good opportunities to watch the auroral displays. Usually the best time of night (on clear nights) to watch for auroral displays is local midnight.
❃ Read a book published in 2013 OR read a book with any nighttime word in its title (i.e. dusk, evening, night, midnight).
If you’re really serious about that 2024 trip to see the lights, read on for CNN’s 11 Top Spots to view them.
6. Jokulsartan Lagoon, Iceland: the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, on the southeast coast of Iceland (~ 250 kilometers from Reykjavik), makes for a perfect spot. The iceberg-filled lagoon reflects the lights, making the experience all the more awesome.
❃ Read a book that takes place in Iceland OR read a book with a natural body of water on its cover (i.e. lake, ocean; not a swimming pool; remember to post the cover).
7. Unstad, Lofoten, Norway: Surfing and Northern Lights aren't often heard in the same sentence but they are on the Lofoten islands, Norway. About a decade ago, the first Lofoten Masters -- dubbed the world's northernmost surfing championship -- took place, attracting only a handful of local surfers. Today the annual event welcomes a host of international surfers keen to brave the icy waves and to surf under the Northern Lights.
❃ Read a book that features an official competition of some kind (tell us what) OR read a book with any type of surfing equipment on its cover (remember to post the cover).
8. Paatsjoki, Finnish Lapland: Grab a spot on the Paatsjoki Bridge, Nellim, near the Finnish-Russian border. The chances of sighting the Northern Lights here are at least 90%.
❃ Read a book with a bridge on its cover (remember to post the cover) OR read a book whose setting is close to a border of some type - i.e. city, state, country (tell us where and tell us the close border).
9. Fairbanks, Alaska, United States: Two major challenges when hunting the Northern Lights are the cold and fatigue. Watching them in a hot spring alleviates both these problems! The city of Fairbanks, in Alaska, is often cited as the best place to see the Northern Lights in the United States. If that hot spring sounds good to you, check out the Chena Resort which has easy access to Fairbanks' airport. The resort also provides an aurora alarm service, alerting guests if the lights "switch on" in the middle of night.
❃ Read a book that takes place in Alaska OR read a book that has any item indicating “hot” on its cover (i.e. a filled bath tub, a cup of coffee, etc.)
10. Cairngorms National Park, Scotland: Up in the Scottish Highlands with a vast dark sky and little light pollution, Cairngorms National Park is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights in the country. The north-facing Cairngorm Mountain car park (campground) is an ideal spot to pull up your caravan (camper to non-Brits) and enjoy a hot cup of tea while waiting. To make the experience even better, the Cairngorms is packed with other activities including snowsports, hiking routes and 12 golf courses. It's also home to Britain's only sled dog center and a bridge-based bungee jump.
❃ Read a book that takes place in any type of campground or resort OR read a book that mentions hot tea at least once (tell us the context or include the sentence in which the hot tea is mentioned).
11. Kangerlussuaq, Greenland: With the only international airport in Greenland, Kangerlussuaq is the gateway to the rest of the country. With an average 300 clear-sky days per year, it's also another top location for aurora hunters. Hop on a dog-sledding expedition for the ultimate viewing experience.
❃ Read a book with anywhere between 300-399 pages; tell us how many pages OR read a book with a sled on its cover (does not have to be a dogsled; post the cover).
12. Yellowknife, Canada: Not only do you have a great chance of seeing the Northern Lights around the city of Yellowknife, but the surroundings -- and seating -- are especially congenial. A 25-minute drive from the city center, Aurora Village is a teepee campground where you lounge in specially designed, heated viewing chairs, with guides offering background in various languages on the lights. You'll need your warm seat -- it can hit 40 C below zero here.
❃ Read a book that has at least one Native American character OR read a book with any type of single chair on its cover (the chair may be occupied or empty); remember to post the cover.
13. Tromsø, Norway: Sometimes called the "Paris of the North," the city of Tromsø is a beautiful and accessible location for catching the Northern Lights. The Norwegian tourism board recommends a voyage on the Norwegian Coastal Steamer Hurtigruten to see the lights along a fjord. An Astronomy Voyage runs from October to March, following the Aurora Borealis, with astronomers on board. The trip also includes a visit to the Northern Lights Planetarium in Tromsø.
❃ Read a book where most of the plot takes place on the water OR read a book with a nighttime scene on its cover; post the cover.
14. Abisko, Sweden: Cloud cover -- the aurora hunter's arch enemy -- shouldn't trouble you around the village of Abisko, in northern Sweden since mountains and favorable prevailing winds combine to create some of northern Scandinavia's most cloud-free skies. Aurora Zone's tour there includes a night's stay at an Ice Hotel. Travelers can also spend a night at the Aurora Sky Station, arriving by chair-lift and having a four-course dinner before stepping out to view the Aurora.
❃ Read a book that takes place in Sweden OR read a book in which a formal dinner is served; briefly tell us about the meal.
15. Muonio, Finnish Lapland: The village itself isn't much of a tourist destination. However, its location in Fell Lapland, the western region of Lapland known for its moor-covered hills, makes Muonio a great stop for exploring the nearby fells including Olos, Levi and Pallas. The Pallas-Yllastunturi National Park, a skiing and trekking destination, is only a 25-minute drive away and provides a spectacular backdrop for a Northern Lights show.
❃ Read a book that takes place in a remote location (tell us where) OR read a book that is #25 on your TBR sorted any way you choose.
16. Southern Hemisphere: Antarctica's the best place to view the Aurora australis (the Southern Lights) but it's also the most inaccessible, unless you're a scientist or a supporting person (cook, doctor, pilot and so on) on a research expedition. You can still see the lights from the southern tips of South America, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. New Zealand's Stewart Island ("Rakiura" in Maori, meaning the land of glowing skies) is a good option. It has only 400 inhabitants and is covered with great wildlife and natural scenery.
❃ Read a book that takes place in the Southern hemisphere OR read a book with a character who is a scientist, doctor, pilot, or cook.
CNN Top Viewing Sites - This is totally worth checking out - spectacular photos!
Northern Lights Centre
♣ When you sign up for the challenge, please post a challenge template so we have a post to which to link your name; post #2 will list participant links which can then be used for making challenge updates.
♣ For each book you read, please indicate the title, the author and the date you finished reading it. If a challenge task gives several options, please make it clear which option you’ve chosen. If the task calls for an item on the cover, include a link to the book cover.* If it’s not obvious from the book title or cover, be sure to explain how your book fits the task. If you don’t, you won’t get credit for completing that task.
♣ Unless otherwise noted, books must be at least 150 pages long.
♣ Books may only be used for one task in this challenge, but cross-challenge posting is encouraged!
♣ If you choose any of the spelling options, you may use the first letter of the first word in the book’s title (excluding A, An and The) or the author’s first or last initial (middle names or initials can NOT be used).
♣ If you want the challenge moderator to check your progress as you make updates, please copy/paste your update into a new message . We don't have time to scroll back through the entire thread looking for "message #15," or to follow links back to an original post.
♣ When you complete the challenge, please post your entire list as a new message to make it easier for everyone to see what you've read. If you don't repost your list, you won't be included in the list of those who have completed the challenge.
*If you don’t know how to post a link to the book title or cover, see the instructions here: Link Instructions