Aurora chasers will soon be able to view the spectacular phenomenon close up thanks to a unique partnership between Tourism Yukon, Air North and the Yukon Astronomical Society.
On November 24th or 25th, lucky ticket-holders will have the chance to observe the northern lights from 36,000 feet above the Earth on a dedicated aurora flight.
"This new aurora flight offering will capture the hearts and imaginations of travellers from everywhere, and we are incredibly excited to be part of the group pioneering a new kind of aurora tourism," says Tourism Yukon’s Robin Anderson.
Ben Ryan, chief commercial officer with Air North, calls the northern lights a "Yukon treasure," and says he's excited to offer travellers a new perspective on the breathtaking display. Air North is the first airline to offer this kind of experience in North America.
Prior to the flight, a welcome reception will be held at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre in Whitehorse, where guests will learn a bit about the science of the northern lights. Auroras occur when gases in the earth's atmosphere, like nitrogen and oxygen, collide with charged particles that have been released from the sun. The reaction causes the dazzling light show seen around the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres.
But can guests be guaranteed a spectacular light show? Anthony Gucciardo, President of the Yukon Astronomical Society, says the chances of seeing auroras along the flight path are very high. "This flight will allow guests to see the northern lights from within the auroral oval, meaning the area with the highest probability of seeing the northern lights," he explains. "The flight will take patrons to the area of greatest aurora activity, right under the auroral oval, which changes dynamically according to how the solar wind is flowing on any particular night."
Tickets are available now through Air North’s website, but with prices starting at $950 for a flight-only experience, they're expected to sell out rather quickly.
Stuck on the ground? Check out our tips for viewing and photographing the northern lights