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The Northern Lights have inspired some of the most dramatic tales in Norse mythology. Vikings celebrated the lights, believing they were earthly manifestations of their gods, while other Norse people feared them, telling stories of the dangers they posed and developing superstitions to protect themselves. Odin was the chief god and ruler of Asgard, revered by all Vikings. During every battle on Earth, Odin would pick the warriors who would die and join him in Valhalla.

Dying in battle was considered an honor for the Norse people, and many of their legends feature great wars, while celebrating the warriors who died fighting. In some legends, they claim the Aurora was the final breath of brave soldiers who died in combat. In others, the Aurora was believed to be the 'Bifrost Bridge,' a glowing, pulsing arch which led fallen warriors to their final resting place in Valhalla.

The appearance of the Northern Lights was a bad omen.

vikings northern lights

If you caught their attention, the lights could reach down and carry you up into the sky. A more sinister interpretation was that the Northern Lights could reach down and slice off your head!

vikings northern lights

A similar version of this story says that as the fire foxes ran, their tails swept snowflakes up into the sky, which caught the moonlight and created the Northern Lights. This version would have also explained why the lights were only visible in winter, as there is no snowfall in the summer months. These complex mythologies were by no means the only ones to take root in Norse societies.

For example In Icelandic folklore, they believed the Northern Lights helped to ease the pain of childbirth, but pregnant women were not to look directly at them or their child would be born cross-eyed. In Greenlandpeople held the bittersweet belief that the lights were the spirits of children who had died in childbirth, dancing across the sky. And in Norwaythe Northern Lights were believed to be the souls of old maids dancing in the heavens and waving at those below.

Whichever fantastical tale captures your imagination, one thing is certain: the Northern Lights were assigned great power and significance by the peoples of ancient Nordic societies. Whether a harbinger of good or evil, the lights were as magical and revered as they continue to be today.

Visit our Northern Lights page. Many of the stories surrounding the Northern Lights in North American communities arose from the Throughout history, the European continent has had many sightings of the Aurora Borealis; all ofThe Northern Lights have inspired some of the most dramatic tales in Norse mythology.

The Vikings celebrated the lights, believing they were earthly manifestations of their gods. Other Norse people feared them, telling stories of the dangers they posed and developing superstitions to protect themselves. Odin was the chief god and ruler of Asgard, revered by all Vikings. During every battle on Earth, Odin would pick the warriors who would die and join him in Valhalla.

Dying in battle was considered an honour for our Norse ancestors and many of their legends feature great battles which celebrate warriors who died fighting.

In some legends, they claim the Aurora was the breath of brave soldiers who died in combat. The appearance of the Northern Lights was a bad omen. It was also dangerous to tease them by waving, whistling or singing under them, as this would alert the lights to your presence.

If you caught their attention, the lights could reach down and carry you up into the sky. A more sinister interpretation was that the Northern Lights could reach down and slice off your head!

The name comes from the rather beautiful myth that Arctic foxes produced the Aurora. These fire foxes would run through the sky so fast that when their large, furry tails brushed against the mountains, they created sparks that lit up the sky. A similar version of this story tells that as the fire foxes ran, their tails swept snowflakes up into the sky, which caught the moonlight and created the Northern Lights. This version would have also helped explain to the people why the lights were only visible in winter, as there is no snowfall in the summer months.

In Icelandic folklore, they believed the Northern Lights helped to ease the pain of childbirth, but pregnant women were not to look directly at them or their child would be born cross-eyed. In Greenlandpeople held the bittersweet belief that the lights were the spirits of children, who had died in childbirth, dancing across the sky, while in Norway, the Northern Lights were believed to be the souls of old maids dancing in the heavens and waving at those below.

Whichever fantastical tale captures your imagination, one thing is certain, the Northern Lights were assigned great power and significance by the peoples of ancient Nordic societies. Whether a harbinger of good or evil, the lights were as magical and revered as they continue to be today. Learn everything you need to know about nature's own mesmerizing light show, the Aurora Borealis, and how to see them.

Visit our Northern Lights page. Many of the stories surrounding the Northern Lights in North American communities arose from the The many sightings of the aurora borealis in Europe through time has given us a rich trove of myths Promotion code. To give you a better experience while using our website, Hurtigruten uses cookies.

Some of these are necessary to make the website work, others give you a tailor-made experience and relevant marketing. Some cookies are necessary in order to ensure our website runs optimally, and are therefore required for the continued use of our website. Analytics cookies collect information about your use of the site, and enable us to improve the way it works.

Advertising cookies are set to manage how our advertising collect information about your activities on this site, in order to provide you relevant targeted advertising. Hurtigruten temporarily suspends operations.The Northern Lights have inspired some of the most dramatic tales in Norse mythology.

The Vikings celebrated the lights, believing they were earthly manifestations of their gods. Other Norse people feared them, telling stories of the dangers they posed and developing superstitions to protect themselves. Odin was the chief god and ruler of Asgard, revered by all Vikings.

During every battle on Earth, Odin would pick the warriors who would die and join him in Valhalla. Dying in battle was considered an honour for our Norse ancestors and many of their legends feature great battles which celebrate warriors who died fighting.

In some legends, they claim the Aurora was the breath of brave soldiers who died in combat. The appearance of the Northern Lights was a bad omen. It was also dangerous to tease them by waving, whistling or singing under them, as this would alert the lights to your presence.

If you caught their attention, the lights could reach down and carry you up into the sky. A more sinister interpretation was that the Northern Lights could reach down and slice off your head! The name comes from the rather beautiful myth that Arctic foxes produced the Aurora. These fire foxes would run through the sky so fast that when their large, furry tails brushed against the mountains, they created sparks that lit up the sky. A similar version of this story tells that as the fire foxes ran, their tails swept snowflakes up into the sky, which caught the moonlight and created the Northern Lights.

This version would have also helped explain to the people why the lights were only visible in winter, as there is no snowfall in the summer months.

In Icelandic folklore, they believed the Northern Lights helped to ease the pain of childbirth, but pregnant women were not to look directly at them or their child would be born cross-eyed.

In Greenlandpeople held the bittersweet belief that the lights were the spirits of children, who had died in childbirth, dancing across the sky, while in Norway, the Northern Lights were believed to be the souls of old maids dancing in the heavens and waving at those below.

Whichever fantastical tale captures your imagination, one thing is certain, the Northern Lights were assigned great power and significance by the peoples of ancient Nordic societies. Whether a harbinger of good or evil, the lights were as magical and revered as they continue to be today. Learn everything you need to know about nature's own mesmerizing light show, the Aurora Borealis, and how to see them. Visit our Northern Lights page.

Many of the stories surrounding the Northern Lights in North American communities arose from the The many sightings of the aurora borealis in Europe through time has given us a rich trove of myths Promotion code. To give you a better experience while using our website, Hurtigruten uses cookies.

Some of these are necessary to make the website work, others give you a tailor-made experience and relevant marketing. Some cookies are necessary in order to ensure our website runs optimally, and are therefore required for the continued use of our website. Analytics cookies collect information about your use of the site, and enable us to improve the way it works. Advertising cookies are set to manage how our advertising collect information about your activities on this site, in order to provide you relevant targeted advertising.

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The Aurora Borealis and the Vikings

A widespread fascination These complex mythologies were by no means the only ones to take root in Norse societies.Strikeout fares reflect our Standard Cruise Fare. Many additional gateways available, air fares may vary; call for details.

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The Viking Difference. Did You Know? Cultural Partners. My Viking Story. Viking Weekly. My Viking Journey. Updates on Current Sailings. Travel Information.Visiting a cold-weather destination in the heart of winter isn't everyone's cup of tea, but for those willing to brave the sometimes-frigid temperatures, the payoff could very well be a big check off your bucket list.

That is: spotting the rare and beautiful natural phenomena of the northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis. We set out in mid-February on a day cruise that took us from Bergen, Norway to Tilbury, England with stops along Norway's west coast. This is the first time Viking Ocean Cruises has offered a winter itinerary to Norway in search of the northern lights, and the voyages saw brisk sales to passengers from all around the world. Our cruise featured mostly Americans along with a healthy dose of Brits and fun-loving Aussies.

Viking has already committed to more sailings in and is looking ahead to and beyond.

A Viking Northern Lights Cruise: Just Back From Norway

Here's what you can expect on a Viking Northern Lights cruise. The biggest reason virtually everyone onboard booked a Viking Cruises northern lights trip was to see those elusive lights.

Vikings Ost Battle Of Brothers

In addition to cruising to a destination famous for the northern lights, Viking also offered several late-night excursions that sent passengers deeper into Norway, heading to specific spots with especially clear skies offering the best chances to see the lights.

We talked to a few passengers who tried these excursions -- some went all the way into Finland -- and results were mixed: Some saw the lights, others did not. We were lucky: We saw them on our third night onboard Viking Sky. They made two shy appearances before putting on a dazzling display just after 11 p. We were a bit surprised to learn that they're not so easy to see firsthand. Rather than the vivid greens you see in photos, they tend to show up as lightly colored strips across the sky.

Many people saw them through their high-quality digital cameras before actually seeing them with the naked eye. If the northern lights come out late at night, when most people are sleeping, Viking will play an announcement over the in-cabin TVs. Passengers have to opt into the announcements by leaving on their TVs, tuned to the bow-camera channel, while they sleep. We left our TV on the first couple of nights, but after we saw the lights, we slept better with the TV off. We did miss a 2 a. Other passengers reported sleeping with a "go-kit" -- warm clothes and camera gear -- at the ready so they could jump out of bed and bolt to the top decks when alerted.

While the northern lights were the main draw onboard, the Norwegian scenery was equally incredible. Sailing through the fjords is a jaw-dropping experience, featuring snow-capped mountains, tight squeezes between cliffs and lighthouses galore. Through it all, Viking crew provided narration when necessary and prompted passengers where to go to see the best vistas.

Crew also made the experience far more pleasant, with waiters handing out mulled wine or hot chocolate to passengers who braved the cold. For many of the onboard staff, the northern lights were exciting as well, and because many of them had seen them on previous cruises, they were eager to share their photos with passengers.

They also were willing to share their knowledge of the best apps for taking pics of the lights, even grabbing phones and adjusting settings for passengers like us! Likewise, Viking printed up a list of tips for shooting the lights, created by the line's resident photographer, Alastair Miller. Viking Sky's staff was stellar, and we felt well cared for regardless of where we were spending our time onboard. Maritime traditions are part of virtually every big sailing, and ours, which took us into the Arctic Circle, was no exception.

At least passengers took part in the hilariously fun process, plunging into a converted hot tub with ice-cube-filled freezing water, emerging to get blue-tinted frosting dabbed on their noses, then downing a shot of rocket fuel -- er, aquavit, a Norwegian spirit. Crew showed up dressed in togas, while swimsuit-clad passengers celebrated together. Despite the early time a. Our cruise visited Narvik, Alta, Tromso and Stavanger.There appears to be no substantiation for a connection between the god Ullr and the aurorae.

People seem to have made a leap from the etymology of the god's name, which is connected with roots meaning "glory, shining", to the idea of the Northern Lights. Similarly, there is the claim in Bullfinch's Mythology that the armor of the Valkyries "sheds a strange flickering light, which flashes up over the northern skies" making the aurora. Once again, there is nothing mentioned in the Old Norse literature that substatiates this assertion, and it can only be taken as either a fanciful interpretation, or perhaps an accretion from later folklore that arose after the end of the Viking Age.

In Gylfaginning ch. Strange as it may seem, when examining Old Norse literature, none of the mythological materials nor sagas mention the aurora at all. One must turn to science to discern a possible explanation. The aurora is generated as a phenomenon of the solar winds and made especially bright and active with increased sunspot activity via the solar winds interaction with the Earth's magnetic field and atmosphere.

The Earth is surrounded by a thin gas cover the atmosphere and fast charged particles plasma are moving in space above it. Auroras arise when some of those particles enter the Earth's atmosphere and collide with atoms and molecules.

When the particles collide the energy used to give them their velocity changes into a light, the aurora. The particles that make auroras come from the ionosphere but have an extremely high velocity due to the energy from the solar wind. The particles are caught by the Earth's magnetic field and are steered towards the poles. When a particle reaches the atmosphere it collides with one of the many present atoms. The particle keeps on moving but with less velocity, since it has lost some energy to the atom.

When a lot of particles collide with atoms, releasing light, an aurora occurs. Illustration of the solar wind and its effect upon Earth's magnetic field.

vikings northern lights

David P. Stern and Mauricio Peredo. The Exploration of the Earth's Magnetosphere. The next scientific fact that is important in this investigation is that the aurora is not visible all over the polar region - instead, by keeping tabs on how often aurora was seen in various locations, scientists discovered that the aurora actually occurred in a mile radius ring or oval centered around not the North Pole or South Pole, but rather the geomagnetic pole.

Another surprising fact is the geomagnetic pole moves!! Today, the geomagnetic North Pole is moving approximately northwest at 40 km per year. The Earth is not a solid sphere. Deep at the center of the earth is the planet's core, thought to be composed of an iron alloy.

Some regions of the core are molten, while in others the gradual cooling of the planet over millenia has allowed some iron to solidify out of the liquid alloy. Lighter portions of the alloy rise, heavier portions sink, which causes a roiling within the core similar to that in a pan of boiling water.