Astrophysicist and astronomer Pete Lawrence has been a presenter on the BBC's long-running television programme The Sky at Night since 2005. He has acted as an astonomical consultant for the popular BBC Stargaazing Live series since it began and appeared on the programme in 2014 as an aurora expert. He compiles and writes the monthly Star Guide for the BBC Sky at Night magazine as well as writing equipment reviews and acting as their resident imaging expert. He is well known for his high resolution images of the Sun, Moon and Planets, which have been widely published in magazines, books and online.
See the Northern Lights from the comfort of a plane
Witnessing the otherworldly phenomenon known as the aurora borealis, or Northern Lights, at its brightest, in the Arctic Circle, is an experience that is on most people's bucket list. But for some, the idea of trekking through the snow in below-zero temperatures fills them with dread. For those people, this special dinner and flight package may be the answer.
This unique trip affords you the opportunity to see the breathtaking, sky-filling display without interruption from bad weather or ground-based light pollution and without getting your feet wet.
For more than 20 years, our travel partner Omega Breaks has been flying passengers in search of the Northern Lights in the easiest and most affordable way possible Your trip will begin at Sofitel London Gatwick, where you'll be given two illustrated briefings by expert astronomers. World-class astrophotographer and BBC The Sky at Night regular Pete Lawrence will tell you what to expect, how the trip will work and what causes the incredible light display. You'll then enjoy a three-course dinner, before boarding your flight into the night sky.
During your journey, you and your fellow passengers will be given equal chance to take their turn in the window seat to enjoy spectacular views of the night sky, including the Northern Lights.
The aircraft will then turn around, and complimentary tea and coffee will be served as you journey back to Gatwick, discussing the incredible spectacle you've seen.
Northern Lights experts
Ahead of your journey, you will be joined by astronomer Pete Lawrence, who has appeared on Blue Peter, as well as presenting on the BBC's The Sky at Night since 2005. An aurora expert, he will provide you with a wealth of information on the many wonders you'll be able to see from the aeroplane during your flight, from the Milky Way to Orion's Belt. With Peter on the night will be either Nigel Bradbury or Dr Lee Sproats. Nigel is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and a veteran of previous Northern Lights flights. Lee has also appeared on The Sky at Night and has worked in the physics department at the University of Surrey.
Fly above the Arctic Circle
From the ground, seekers of the aurora borealis can be hampered by cloud cover or local light pollution. By flying above the clouds, weather issues are eliminated and you're far enough away from earth to give you the best chance to see the night sky. During the flight, the cabin lights will be extinguished to allow your eyes to adapt to the conditions and optimise your view outside the cabin.
In the darkness, you'll be carefully guided to rotate your time
in the window seat with your fellow passengers to ensure everyone
on board gets ample opportunity to see the Northern Lights. Your
two experts will be on hand throughout the flight to point out
constellations and further explain what you're seeing.
The food at the hotel is overseen by award-winning executive chef David Woods, whose modern British menu features the finest locally sourced ingredients. Before you take off, you'll enjoy a delicious three-course meal and, on the return leg of the flight, you'll be served free tea and coffee on board.
Reasons to book
Your expert guides
- Exclusive pre-flight presentations by experts at Sofitel London Gatwick
- Dinner at the Sofitel London Gatwick
- Flight excursion in search of the Northern Lights with expert commentary (approx. 3-3.5 hours)
- Services of astronomers on board
- Tea and coffee on board
- Airport taxes
- Services of an Omega Breaks tour manager
Day1Fly to see the northern lightsGatwick Apt/London, United Kingdom
Enjoy expert presentations about the night sky and the magical phenomenon of the Northern Lights from Pete Lawrence and either Nigel Bradbury or Dr Lee Sproats at the Softiel in London Gatwick, with its soaring atrium and modern aesthetics. Our experts will provide you with a wealth of information about astronomy and the night sky.
Following the talks, you're invited to enjoy a fabulous three-course dinner at Sofitel. The food at the hotel is overseen by award-winning executive chef David Woods, whose modern British menu features the finest locally sourced ingredients.
After checking in to your flight, you'll board the plane from which you'll experience the wonders of the aurora. The experts will be on hand throughout the flight to point out constellations and further explain what you're seeing.
During the flight, the cabin lights will be extinguished to allow your eyes to adapt to the conditions and optimise your view outside the cabin and each guest will have ample time in the window seat to make the most of this vantage point.
Complimentary teas and coffees will be served on your way back to Gatwick, although thankfully you won't need warming up from the arctic weather below, as flying above the clouds helps you to avoid the cold, cloud cover and light pollution.
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