northern lights

Northern Lights



captivate charge (2) phenomenon
solar charged particle
pole (3) divert magnet
emit emission atmosphere
offer safari shoot/shot
hut growth exponential
boom on track grow/grew/grown
remote expanse overwhelmed
hunt headlamp impressive
kit out forecast predecessor
admire worth it optimistic


Video: Aurora Borealis



The Northern Lights are a captivating natural phenomenon. It’s origins are the sun.

Charged particles and solar winds are diverted by the Earth’s magnetic field into the atmosphere at the poles.

The result is the emission of light.

Chad Blakley shot these images. The American moved to Abisko, in Lapland a few years ago with his wife.

Now he offers photo safaris for tourists who come here to see the Northern Lights.

He prepares a fire in an old hut so his customers don’t feel too cold—at minus 20 degrees Celsius.

Chad: “Our first season in 2012, we had 13 guests. The second season we had pretty exponential growth at 500 guests. The third season which was just last new now, we had nearly 1,500 guests.

And I’m overwhelmed to say that this season, we’re on track for six to seven thousand guests.

So I think your description of a boom is exactly right.”

Abisko is a remote place in the cold expanses of northern Sweden.

Only about 100 people live here.

This is the one-hundred bed Abisko Tourist Station.

A few years ago, it opened only in summer.

But now welcomes guests from all over the world, all year round.

Helena Runeburg, Abisko Beds Manager: “It all started when a Japanese man who read that because of its location, Abisko is the best place in the whole world to see the Northern Lights.

He flew from Tokyo to Rovaniemi, took the train to Kirana and to here.

It was winter and everything was closed.

My predecessor realized this could be big business for us.”

The hunt for the Northern Lights is a nightime experience.

A lot of visitors book Chad Blakley’s photo safari. Serene Tan and her friend Ann Go, are from Singapore. They want to photograph the lights tonight.

But it’s not that easy.

So they get some professional instruction.

Once they are kitted out with warm clothes, camera equipment and headlamps, they head out into the dark.

The weather forecast is good.

And the two bank workers from Singapore are optimistic.

Serena: “I’ve never seen it before, and I heard this is must see thing. So I want to try my luck. It’s really beautiful.”

The less light the better; we have to turn off our camera light as well.

Suddenly the sky turns green–and even the experienced photographers are excited.

Chad: “Look at that it’s pink and it’s moving! This is absolutely unbelieveable. Who needs help? I want to help you guys.”

It’s an impressive sight.

The Northern Lights dancing across the sky.

Ann and Serene cannot believe their luck.

Ann: “We came all this way, and it’s worth it . . . I can’t really describe it.

There will be a lot more to admire in the coming hours.

The Northern Lights burn a long time in this polar night in the north of Sweden.

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1. Are the Northern Lights a man-made or a natural phenomenon?

2. Who is Chad Blakley? He a “normal” American. What do you think?

3. Is his business stable or is it booming?

4. Where is Abisko? Describe it. There a hotel or hostel in Abisko. True or false?

5. Guests only come from the United States. Is this correct or wrong?

6. Can people take good pictures with their smart phones?

7. Are the Northern Lights white?

8. Who are Ann and Serene? What are their jobs? Were they awed?
A. I have seen the Aurora borealis. Yes or no? Have your friends seen them? Would you like to see the Northern Lights?

B. What will happen in the future? What will happen to Abisko?

C. There are only benefits to more tourists coming to Abisko and other parts of Lapland. What do you think?

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