High Arctic Total Eclipse
Astronomy - Accompanied by our expert Dr John Mason, Talks and eclipse viewing (1 night and 1 day) and Northern Light viewing (1 night)
Transport - Private bus, internal flights
Accommodation - Hotels (4nts)
Meals - All breakfasts included
The Svalbard archipelago is the most northerly inhabited landmass on Earth. Between here and the North Pole there is only Arctic Ocean and ice. In March 2015 these ice encrusted islands will form the stage for what surely will be the eclipse of a lifetime as the low elevation, eclipsed sun will illuminate the glaciated mountain peaks from our observation point near Longyearbyen. There is also an excellent chance of seeing the incredible aurora borealis.
Fly to Oslo the capital of Norway and stay overnight. Radisson Blu (Oslo Airport) - 1 night.
Arrive in Longyearbyen
An early flight from Oslo takes you across the Arctic Circle and into Longyearbyen. After a short transfer to the hotel you will be free to explore the town before we meet for the first of John Mason’s presentations. At just 800 miles from the North Pole Svalbard's snowy landscape reflects its High Arctic location. Longyearbyen's industrial heritage is evident in the protected remains of coal mining machinery around the town. Possible northern light viewing this evening with your astronomy expert. Svalbard Hotel or Spitsbergen Guest House - 3 nights (B)
Winter Activities / Explore Longyearbyen
Today you are free to enjoy some of the delights of Longyearbyen. There is an excellent museum, an art gallery or you could visit the most northerly church in the world. For those who want more activity there are a number of winter persuits such as dog-sledding or snowmobiling. Alternatively you could relax and enjoy Longyearbyen’s appealing coffee shops.
In the evening Dr John Mason will give his eclipse presentation after which we'll be keeping our eyes on the skies looking for the aurora. (B)
Head out into the snowy wilderness to witness what should be the eclipse of the decade. Armed guards will be on hand in case a polar bear should wander near and we provide warm drinks to keep the cold from your bones. We have chosen a carefully selected viewing location taking into consideration the climate. (B)
The morning is free to gather those final souvenirs or photograph the amazing scenery before we transfer to the airport and take an afternoon flight home via Oslo. (B)
The eclipse will occur at the vernal equinox so the sun will be above the horizon for 12 hours allowing plenty of daylight for outdoor activities such as dog-sledding or snowmobiling. With temperatures well below freezing it will be essential to take lots of thermal clothing.
As the largest settlement in the Svalbard Archipelago, Longyearbyen is a popular stopping point for cruise ships and a base for adventure tourism. It has all the modern facilities you would expect in any European town, but a short drive from the centre and you are surrounded by stunning icy wilderness.
The eclipse will occur on 20th March with the sun low over the snow covered mountains. The sun’s activity should still be close to maximum so we can expect the corona to extend all around the disc and as the light level falls during totality there might even be a chance of seeing the Northern Lights - a rare combination.
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