A BREATHTAKING EXPERIENCE

You're on the verge of booking your flight up into one of the most beautiful parts of Canada, you know you want to get into the countryside in a cosy environment (...no bias here), and you've wanted to see the northern lights for as long as you can remember, or for as long as '#wanderlustwednesday' has been a thing on Instagram, but what can you really expect? Is it as breathtaking in person as it looks in all the photos you've seen? 

IT'S A TRICKY THING TO EXPLAIN, SO YES AND NO, AND HERE'S WHY

Many of the great cameras today, partly because of the longer exposures required to photograph a night sky, are more sensitive to colour in dark environments than our eyes are. A faint-to-the-eye aurora can be quickly translated into more intense colours than we're able to perceive them as. This is of course true of the northern lights, and all night scenes, because of the way our eyes work with cones and rods. The cones are responsible for much of the colour we perceive during the day in brighter environments, but are much less sensitive to general brightness  than the rods are. So in dark environments, our rods, being so much more sensitive to light, allow us to continue to perceive, albeit with significantly less sensitivity specifically to colour.  Our rods also have far less sensitivity to long-wavelength light, which is why headlamps, iPhone star gazing apps etc. use the colour red - to help preserve our night vision - which takes somewhere in the range of 30 - 45 minutes to fully achieve.

It's a lot to take in all at once, eye know.