Forget the Cruise—You Should See the Northern Lights by Plane

iStock/OceanFishing
iStock/OceanFishing

While taking an Arctic cruise is a classic way to catch a scenic glimpse of the aurora borealis, there are more picturesque northern lights sightings to be had. To get really up-close and personal with the astronomical phenomenon, you should hop a plane, according to Lonely Planet.

The Aurora 360 trip is specifically designed to give travelers in the Yukon the best glimpse possible of the aurora, as well as a few extras to make their Canadian vacation even better. In addition to the aurora-focused plane ride, the five-day trip scheduled for February 2019 includes a tour of the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, a trip to the Takhini Hot Springs, and cultural events, plus accommodations and various dinners.

The private chartered flight will take off either on February 8 or February 9, depending on the forecast for the day. You’ll get to experience the joys of seeing the lights from 36,000 feet in the air, while sipping on gin and getting a lesson on celestial photography from on-board photographer Neil Zeller. The Aurora 360 flight is the only flight in the world to take off within the aurora oval, the area where the lights are most visible, according to Lonely Planet, so you’re guaranteed to get a unique experience.

The trip is scheduled for February 7 to February 11, 2019. There are only 80 seats available on the flight, so you’d better get planning. The full package costs roughly $2250, while a seat on the flight costs roughly $800.

Get a taste of what the experience is like in the promo video below.

Air North's Aurora 360 Flight to the Lights, Nov 25, 2017 from Neil Zeller on Vimeo.

[h/t Lonely Planet]

10,000 People Gathered at Stonehenge to Welcome the Summer Solstice

Finnbarr Webster, Getty Images
Finnbarr Webster, Getty Images

There are plenty of reasons to welcome the start of summer. Today, people visiting Stonehenge took that celebration to a whole new level.

The BBC reported that an estimated 10,000 people made the pilgrimage to the 5000-year-old site to partake in summer solstice festivities. "Stonehenge was built to align with the Sun, and to Neolithic people, the skies were arguably as important as the surrounding landscape," Susan Greaney, a senior historian at English Heritage, said in a statement. "At solstice we remember the changing daylight hours, but the changing seasons, the cycles of the Moon, and movements of the Sun are likely to have underpinned many practical spiritual aspects of Neolithic life."

These spiritual aspects are just one of the many fascinating facts about the summer solstice; the day is an extremely old calendar event recognized by ancient cultures across the globe. They include the Druids and other pagans, whose tradition of observing the solstice at Stonehenge has long been upheld by modern revelers.

Scientifically speaking, Stonehenge is an optimal viewing place for the solstice due to its structure. According to TIME, the site’s architects appeared to have kept both the summer and winter solstices in mind during its construction, as the positions of the stones are specifically tuned to complement the sky on both occasions.

The solstices were sacred to the pagans, whose modern-day followers continue to honor their rituals. Pagans in particular refer to the day as Litha, and mark it with activities such as meditation, fire rites, and outdoor yoga.

“What you’re celebrating on a mystical level is that you’re looking at light at its strongest," Frank Somers, a member of the Amesbury and Stonehenge Druids, said in 2014. "It represents things like the triumph of the king, the power of light over darkness, and just life—life at its fullest."

Those who were unable to make the journey can head over to the Stonehenge Skyscape project's website, where English Heritage’s interactive live feed fully captured the experience.

Hotels.com Wants to Pay You $10,000 to Test Out Some of America’s Fanciest Hotel Pools

iStock/FTiare
iStock/FTiare

Getting paid to hang out by the pool all summer may sound like a job that's too good to be true. But popular hotel booking site Hotels.com is looking to hire one lucky "Poolhop" to do just that—and pay them $10,000 for their efforts.

According to the official job application, "The Poolhop’s responsibilities are simple; travel to some of the most incredible hotel pools across the country, sip on fruity drinks, snap some photos, sport a hotel robe, and report back to reward-loving Hotels.com fans."

Along with the $10,000 stipend, the Poolhop's perks will include paid airfare and accommodations at six hotels across the country, one year of Hotels.com Gold Rewards member status, and “eternal bragging rights.” The only serious requirements are that applicants be at least 21 years of age and a U.S. resident. They must also, of course, know how to swim.

Thrillist reports that the chosen hotels aren’t your average accommodations, either. The Poolhop will get to dive into luxury at Hawaii's Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, the Mondrian Los Angeles, the SLS Las Vegas, Colorado's Garden of the Gods Club and Resort, The William Vale Hotel in New York City, and Miami Beach's National Hotel.

“No one wants to be sitting at a desk all summer,” Katie Junod, general manager of the Hotels.com brand in North America, said. "There are so many incredible hotel pools to explore across the country, and we want to give travelers a first-hand look at the crème de la crème. And who better to live the hotel life than our very own Hotels.com Poolhop?”

The trip will take place during two weeks in August. All applications must be filled out and submitted by Tuesday, June 25th. And don't forget your sunscreen!

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