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Virtual Vacations: An Insider Look at the Best Northern Lights Tours
For many folks, glimpsing the Northern Lights is a top-tier bucket list dream — and for good reason. Even in pictures, the sight is simply mesmerizing. On the other hand, photographs are a safe bet: we’ve all heard the tales of folks traveling to faraway places only to end up disappointed because they didn’t plan accordingly.
Here, we’re giving you a chance to see the Northern Lights virtually, but we’re also delving into the best livestreams, tours, and must-book accommodations to fulfill all of your Aurora Borealis-viewing dreams. Start daydreaming now so that, one day soon, you’ll be able to turn that wanderlust into an unforgettable trip to see the Northern Lights.
What Are the Northern Lights?
Before you go on your virtual or real-life visit, it’s always good to brush up on your knowledge, especially when that knowledge pertains to an astrological phenomenon. So, what exactly happens during a Northern Lights show?
Known as Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights occur when sun particles collide with the Earth’s magnetic field. The top and bottom of the field are curved, touching the Earth at its poles since the magnetic field is weaker in those places.
Once the collision occurs, the particles make the unique light spectacle we known as the Northern Lights. The lights are typically yellow and green — the color is produced by oxygen molecules, which can be found 60 miles above Earth’s surface. However, there are many other (slightly rarer) colors associated with the Aurora Borealis. For example, oxygen located 200 miles above Earth’s surface produces red auroras, while nitrogen produces blue or purple auroras.
These Are the Ideal Conditions for the Northern Lights
Most often, the lights are visible from early August to late April. But, the truth is, you’ll need to strategically plan your visit to get the most out of this phenomenon. If you’re not a fan of long, cold nights, this won’t work in your favor since the best time to take a trip is some time between November and March. However, these months also tend to have the most snow, which could make your trip slightly unpredictable.
To see the best of the Aurora Borealis you’ll need:
- A clear, cloudless night
- A good location, away from cities and light pollution
- Warm clothes
- Patience — after all, you may need to wait for quite a while!
As we all know, weather can be very unpredictable. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to follow the Aurora Borealis forecast in order to truly determine whether or not your visit will reward you with a clear sight of the Northern Lights.
Captivating Places to Watch Aurora Borealis From
If virtual isn’t your thing and you still prefer to see the lights live, there are a couple of places that will give you the best possible views of the Northern Lights. Known as the “Aurora Zone,” these places include Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Greenland, and Canada. Each country has a couple of places that will give you a clear view of the lights — well, so long as the conditions are working in your favor, of course.
No matter where you try, you should always get as far away from nearby cities; even the slightest pollution can impact visibility. If you feel uncomfortable embarking on a Northern Lights trek on your own, we recommend taking a tour. After all, sometimes that professional guide can really give you a leg up in securing the best available view.
Finland: In Finland, the Northern Lights are visible 200 days a year. In fact, it’s considered one of the best locations to get a magical view. If you want the best spot possible, go north and visit the Utsjoki village. One of the best accommodations to enjoy a private view of the lights is the charming Aurora River House .
Sweden: September is an ideal time for watching the Northern Lights in Sweden. For the best view, you should head far north to the town of Kiruna. If you’re looking to enjoy the Aurora Borealis from your doorstep (and cuddle with some huskies while doing so), book your stay at Husky Dreams .
Norway: From September to April, Norway is a fabulous spot to see the Northern Lights. Without a doubt, the most popular location is Tromso, which boasts many wonderful accommodations that allow you to watch the show from a fireside window.
Iceland: Iceland is a popular destination for Aurora Borealis enthusiasts. Reykjavík is a perfect location; however, as it’s a city, you may find that taking a Northern Lights tour with a professional will allow you to get the best possible view.
Greenland: With 300 clear nights per year, Greenland’s Kangerlussuaq is one of the most popular Aurora Borealis destinations. Because you can’t stay at Kangerlussuaq, a guided tour is best.
Canada: Last but not least, is Canada, which also gives you a chance to see the lights in action. Yellowknife is reportedly one of the best places in the world to witness the Northern Lights in person. In fact, you can find accommodations that allow you to enjoy the view right from your balcony.
Take a Virtual Vacation Instead
So, what if you really want to see the Northern Lights in the summer? Well, thanks to some innovative technology, you can! We recommend trying a 360 virtual tour or watching one of many high-definition Aurora Borealis videos, all of which will leave a lasting impression.
Looking for something a little more spur of the moment? You can also enjoy livestreams of the Northern Lights from many locations described above. Not only is this a fun way to enjoy the spectacle from home, but livestreams are a great way to learn more about planning an in-person trip. Thanks to the power of YouTube’s livestreams, you can see the Aurora Borealis from several different perspectives and easily travel from one place to another, all from the comfort of your sofa.
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National Museum of Natural History Virtual Tours
Access the tours.
The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History virtual tours allow visitors to take self-guided, room-by-room tours of select exhibits and areas within the museum from their desktop or mobile device. Visitors can also access select collections and research areas at our satellite support and research stations as well as past exhibits no longer on display.
Virtual Tour Tips
- To navigate between adjoining rooms in the tours, click on the blue arrow links on the floor or use the navigation map in the upper right of the presentation screen.
- Look for the camera icon which gives you a close-up view of a particular object or exhibit panel.
- Try zooming in as some of the images are stitched together from individual pictures in order to create very high resolution gigapixel images.
Site Credit: Imagery and coding by Loren Ybarrondo
Equipment Used: Professional Nikon digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera bodies and lenses. The photography is typically done using rectilinear lenses with minimized distortion and shooting equirectangular panoramas at 22K pixels on the long side.
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360° Panoramic Creations:
We create high-quality stabilized video having 8k and 4k resolution, 48 or 24 frames per second together with high-quality post-processing. Videos are supported by the most advanced technologies, such as virtual reality headsets (including Samsung Gear VR), different electronic devices and YouTube channels.
We use different types of moving and fixed objects (tripods, monopods, cars, helicopters, building cranes, etc.) to record videos. For aerial shooting we usually use drones with fully gyro-stabilized unique suspension. Panoramic video covers up all the space around the camera 360x180 degrees without black spots at both nadir and zenith viewing angle.
360° videos are available in any format you choose: .mp4, .avi, .mov, etc. All the videos are made and kept in frames, making it possible to encode them into any available format and bitrate with the resolution up to 8k.
Our team creates high-quality 360° photo-panoramas with 35000x17500 pixels resolution (in the equidistant projection) and carries out professional post-processing and corrections of any complexity. We develop virtual tours which are suitable for all browsers, support both Flash and HTML5 technologies and are compatible with different mobile devices and virtual reality headsets (including Samsung Gear VR).
We use different types of moving and fixed objects (tripods, monopods, cars, helicopters, building cranes, etc.) to record videos. For aerial shooting we usually use drones with the fully gyro-stabilized unique suspension. Panoramic video covers up all the space around the camera 360x180 degrees without black spots at both nadir and zenith viewing angle.
Ready 360° photo-panoramas cover up all the space around the camera 360x180 degrees without black spots at both nadir and zenith viewing angle.
Info-points (description buttons that can be placed in the panorama), embedded pictures, video and audio can be added to the virtual tour.
Our team creates high-quality 360° photo-panoramas with resolution from 1 to 3 gigapixel and carries out professional post-processing and corrections of any complexity. We develop virtual tours which are suitable for all browsers, support both Flash and HTML5 technologies and are compatible with different mobile devices and virtual reality glasses (including Samsung Gear VR).
Info-points (description buttons that can be placed in the panorama), embedded pictures, video and audio can be added to the ready virtual tour.
We can make panoramic timelapses with the given viewing angle and resolution up to 12k with professional post-processing and without black spots at both nadir and zenith viewing angle. 360° timelapses are supported by the most advanced technologies, such as virtual reality glasses (including Samsung Gear VR), different electronic devices and YouTube channels.
360° timelapses are available in any format you choose: .mp4, .avi, .mov, etc. All the timelapses are made and kept in frames, making it possible to encode them into any available format and bitrate with the resolution up to 12K.
On the basis of 360° panoramas we create virtual tours of any complexity, branded with logos and design elements of the company’s website together with embedding interactive elements, such as photos, slideshows, videos, descriptions, switch-points to other panoramas, audio descriptions, 3D sounds.
Our clients receive a fully functional virtual tour developed in HTML5 and supported by any computer or mobile device (iOS, Android, Windows Phone).
360° Photo Price List
For almost 10 years of travelling around the world our team has gathered an extensive stock of pictures, taken from both flying devices and the ground.
Any picture presented at our stock can be licensed for any kind of possible use. We can also offer the photos of ultra-high quality (the longer side up to 103,000 pixels).
You can also take a look at the spherical panoramas published on the website www.airpano.ru . Any of the 360° panoramas represented on the website can be converted into a printed image of very high quality.
Photogallery Price List
STOCK 360° VIDEOS
By filming 360° video since 2011, our team has gathered an extensive stock of clips, taken from both flying devices and the ground.
Any video presented on our website can be licensed for any kind of possible use.
360° videos are available in any format you choose: .mp4, .avi, .mov, etc. All the videos are made and kept in frames, making it possible to encode them into any available format and bitrate.
360° Video Price List
We are one of the software developers of applications based on 360° photos and videos. Currently, there are 7 applications in our portfolio. One of them was top-rated in 84 countries and listed among the best applications of the year 2014 according to App Store.
These applications can also be used for demonstration of panoramic content with the help of virtual reality devices, such as Samsung Gear VR, Google Cardboard and analogues.
AirPano team has the experience of creating panoramic cinemas and video-walls, making it possible to demonstrate our panoramic content at different kinds of events, exhibitions and in museums. The size is only defined by the premises, the quality of projector and the dimensions of plasma screens. Such solutions usually make a deep impression on visitors.
The control is carried out by a tablet or Kinect devices.
We are ready to create applications with panoramic content working on touch screens of any size. Both AirPano panoramas and the client’s material can be the basis for this kind of software.
We create virtual tours of any complexity, branded with logos and design elements of the company’s website together with embedding interactive elements, such as photos, slideshows, videos, descriptions, switch-points to other panoramas, audio descriptions, 3D sounds.
Our virtual tours and 360° videos are supported by all the types of virtual reality headsets (VR): Google Cardboard, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, Sony Morpheus and others.
We can also develop special software for operating on Samsung Gear VR, if required.
AirPano in cooperation with Polden Studio carries out the installation of the binocular usage of the client’s or our own content. With the help of binoculars, the client can present the panoramic content at different kinds of events, exhibitions and in museums. This kind of devices usually attract a lot of visitors and leave a deep impression on them.
About 360 Virtual Tour.
360 Virtual Tour Co. is an official global Google contributor of 360° virtual tours, Google Street View, 3D Matterport Venue Scans, Digital Surveying, Aerial and Commercial Photography.
We produce immersive imagery and outstanding digital content to assist in marketing.
3D Scanning Digital Twins
Digitize and view your space from multiple angles, build functionality on top of it, get accurate measurements, and more. With a single scan, you can automatically create 3D walk-throughs, 4K print quality photos, schematic floor plans, OBJ files, point clouds, videos, and other media.
We are a team of professional photographers with a wealth of international experience offering our customers a total solution. From high end commercial shoots to property and architectural photography.
Google 360 Street View
As official Senior Google Maps Photographers, we have dedicated access to embed your Street View 360 imagery onto Maps to expose your location. Create the ultimate “see inside walk-through” of your business space.
Aerial Drone Photography
Quality and safety is paramount when it comes to using our state of the art drone equipment. This enables us to capture stunning imagery, videos, survey footage and create 360 eye catching aerial photos. Learn more here
Increase your Search Visibility
Stand out in search results and attract more customers, drive traffic to your website and get an advantage over local competitors.
Google My Business Optimisation
Street View Trusted tours are embedded within Google Knowledge Graphs. Ensuring your Street View Trusted tour and relevant business information is always visible. Don’t know what Google My Business is? Click here
Integrated Into Google Maps
A Google Street View tour built with Google Maps technology is an immersive experience, inviting all your customers into your business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Add the Virtual Tour to your website
Simply embed the code into your pages and you can enjoy all the benefits of the Virtual Tour on your website. Customers will love having a look around before they visit.
Drone Photography and Videography
Officially CAA licensed and insured as commercial drone operators.
Bespoke 360 Virtual Tours
A bespoke tour offers you total customisation with a menu overlay and information hotspots. Great for very large spaces. Image quality is of the highest possible standard and the branding, menus and navigation are all designed to fit seamlessly with your brand look and feel. Don’t want to showcase your virtual tour on Google Maps, no problem, we offer privately hosted solutions too.
We believe our work speaks for itself. Browse our most recent projects below and enjoy our handmade work with love for every detail.
- GOOGLE 360s
- REAL ESTATE
- WEDDING VENUE
- BARS & RESTAURANTS
- EVENT SPACES
- SHOPPING CENTRE
Digitising Manufacturing Operations
Hospital Indoor Navigation Mapping Virtual Tour
Gig Fibre Broadband Road Survey Virtual Tour
Sphere8 Flooring Showroom Virtual Tour
The Dome Edinburgh Virtual Tour
Roche Bobois Chelsea 3D Retail Virtual Tours
Total Jobs HQ 3D Virtual Tour
Calvin klein regent street 3d virtual tour.
Harrods H Beauty Edinburgh 3D Virtual Tour
Harrods H Beauty Bristol 3D Virtual Tour
Harrods 3D Virtual Tour Exhibition Spaces
Penfolds Popup Harrods 3D Virtual Tour
National Trust Stowe Virtual Tour
Popworld Cheltenham Google Virtual Tour
sketch London 3D Virtual Tour
Bang Casting Studios Virtual Tour
Liang and Eimil Furniture 3D Virtual Tour
Vintage Sofa Retail 3D Virtual Tours
Protected: BSI Group Virtual Tours
The Rosewood London Wedding Showcase Virtual Tour
Our client base is ever growing. We are based in Surrey and London but cover worldwide pretty much where we are needed.
Online tours - Enjoy the Louvre at home!
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Virtual tours Enjoy the Louvre at home! Online tours
Virtual tours, louvre at home.
Visit the museum rooms and galeries, admire the palace architecture and enjoy the views!
From afar. Travelling Materials and Objects
Through materials and objects, this exhibition describes exchanges between distant worlds – exchanges often far more ancient than the explorations of the 16th century. From deepest antiquity, carnelian, lapis lazuli, ebony and ivory circulated along trade routes...
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The Advent of the Artist
For its 5th edition, the Petite Galerie takes a closer look at the transition from the typically anonymous craftsman of the classical period to the artist of the Renaissance, featuring works by Delacroix, Rembrandt, Tintoret and more.
This third Petite Galerie exhibition focused on the connection between art and political power, from antiquity to the present day.
The Body in Movement
In its second season, the Petite Galerie explored one of the performing arts: dance. How did artists use different materials and techniques to represent movement?
Founding Myths: From Hercules to Darth Vader
The very first Petite Galerie exhibition looked into how illustrators, sculptors, painters, puppeteers, filmmakers, and musicians around the world have drawn inspiration from myths, given them form, and brought them to life.
What activities does the Louvre offer that can be enjoyed from home?
Events at the auditorium (in French)
Podcasts (in French)
“Mona Lisa Beyond the Glass” virtual reality experience