Malaysians can see the Northern Lights and Spain on free virtual tours


You can catch the Aurora Borealis in Finland via a live stream on YouTube. — LOU JOON YEE/RAINER KRASKA

There's a virtual tour event happening on Facebook this month featuring the beautiful architecture and art of Barcelona, Spain.

The event is promoted by A Virtual Tour Live, and is said to be hosted by “one of Spain’s finest tour directors, Manuel”.

It will be held on Jan 31 (at 2pm in Malaysia) for about two-and-a-half hours and is free. However, advance registration is encouraged, and this is where things get a little strange.

   Casa Batllo, designed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudi, is one of the places featured in A Virtual Tour Live’s Facebook event. — MING TEOH/The StarCasa Batllo, designed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudi, is one of the places featured in A Virtual Tour Live’s Facebook event. — MING TEOH/The StarThe call-to-action button for early registration will bring you to a website (https://worldstreming.com/virtual-tour-of-gaudi’s/) where you can see a YouTube video frame showing a picture of Park Guell, a public park in Barcelona featuring the works of architectural genius Antoni Gaudi.

In fact, the virtual tour is said to highlight some of Gaudi’s most famous projects in the city, including Casa Mila, Casa Batllo and the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia or simply, Sagrada Familia, the unfinished Roman Catholic church that is also a Unesco World Heritage Site.

However, if you click on the button that says “Advanced Registration” it will bring you to an Amazon Prime Video subscription page, prompting you to pay a certain amount for a year’s worth of streaming.

If this seems suspicious to you then perhaps you should not register for now. But it does not hurt to keep tabs on the page – maybe A Virtual Tour Live will still run the event for free on Jan 31. The company also has other similar events lined up: “A Virtual Tour Of The Old City In Jerusalem And Bethlehem” on Jan 17, “A Virtual Tour Of The Grand Canyon National Park” on Jan 23, and “The Amalfi Coast – A Virtual Italy Tour” in February.

These three tours do not require any advanced registrations.

For Aurora Borealis fans

Another Facebook Live event that’s also interesting will take place on Jan 22 (8am UTC or 4pm in Malaysia). “See The Northern Lights” is organised by Delta College Planetarium in Michigan, the United States, and presented by Mike Murray, an astronomer and planetarium manager.

During the event, Murray will talk about what causes the Aurora Borealis (or the Northern Lights) phenomenon as well as how to properly observe it.

In fact, you can actually start observing for traces of the Aurora Borealis now. There’s a live broadcast currently taking place from a remote wilderness area in Finland’s Lapland – the stream began on Dec 18 and will continue to run until the Northern Lights event stops.

The channel, Aurora Borealis LIVE!, is Finland’s first live video channel dedicated to the phenomenon and has apparently been running since 2017.

The YouTube page also explains that the Aurora Borealis “does not show up at the same time every day”.

Rather, it will depend on the conditions of the solar wind, though on average it will take place between 9pm and midnight (Finland time).

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