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Norway: The Aurora Borealis
December and January are the best months to see the Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, in the Northern Hemisphere. The green, red, and purple glow in the night sky is caused by solar wind interacting with the earth's magnetic field and is most commonly seen in the polar regions (the Southern Hemisphere has its own lights, the Aurora Australis). But whether you care about the science bit or not, these luminous displays are truly spectacular—if a little spooky, in an aliens-are-about-to-attack kind of way. You can increase your chances of a sighting by employing a local guide; in Norway, Kjetil Skogli organizes small-group nighttime tours and won't rest until he finds something for you to photograph, even if it takes all night.
Where to stay: The Juvet Hotel, located on the farmstead of Burtigard on Norway's west coast, makes the most of its dramatic surroundings with seven stylish detached guest rooms with huge panoramic windows.