Technical Visits

Technical Visits – Out of the ordinary study visits

Technical Visits offers study visits for the curious, for groups who crave more in-depth information, and those of you looking for an out-of-the-ordinary experience during your stay in the Kiruna area. Through us you have the opportunity to delve a little deeper behind the scenes of operations dealing with for example high technology, space engineering, gemmology and entrepreneurship.

For more information and ideas contact:




The beauty of diamonds has captivated mankind since the beginning of time. Their unique brilliancy and hardness make it the clear winner among gemstones.
Everyone has heard of this lovely stone, and its beauty and rarity has through the ages distorted the heads of many people.
But what exactly is a diamond made of? Where can they be found? How are they created? Why are they so hard? How is that they can be cut? What makes them so expensive? And the most important question of all: Could you find a diamond?

TIME REQUIRED: Approximately 2 hours.
AVAILABILITY: Year-round, upon request.


Space physics

Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF)

Atmospheric Research in the Arctic and on Antarctica

IRF studies mother-of-pearl clouds, noctilucent clouds and other atmospheric phenomena that contribute to ozone destruction or can warn us of climate change.
Atmospheric research over the next few years will be driven by the necessity to better understand the processes that influence the climate – now and in the future. It is important to understand how changes in the dynamics of the middle atmosphere can influence weather systems in the troposphere. IRF analyses data from international satellite missions and ground-based instruments distributed around the globe, develops its own measuring instruments and makes comparisons between the conditions in the Arctic and on Antarctica.

TIME REQUIRED: about half a day or 2-2 ½ hours.
AVAILABILITY: year-round upon request.



IRF studies meteors (falling stars) with the help of sensitive instruments that reveal various aspects of the dust particles from space that cause this phenomenon. Researchers at IRF were the first to use scatter radar for meteor studies 17 years ago.
With the help of EISCAT, European Incoherent Scatter Facility, one of the world’s most advanced radar facilities, researches study the different aspects of the small particles that burn up in the atmosphere.
With help from the optical network ALIS, Auroral Large Imaging System, researchers have been able to observe signals from a molecule in the meteor spectra. Thanks to the unique EISCAT radar, IRF is world-leading in certain aspects of meteor studies.
Meteor research broadens our knowledge of the origin and development of the solar system and is of interest in our search for new worlds to live on. Knowing about dust particles in space is also important for future manned space missions and for planning bases on the moon and on Mars.

TIME REQUIRED: Approximately half a day or 2-2½ hours.
AVAILABILITY: Year-round, upon request.


Northern lights

Ever since IRF was founded as the Kiruna Geophysical Observatory in 1957, it has specialized in studying the northern lights. The northern lights, Aurora Borealis, often appear in the sky as long, curling yellowish-green bands that move and change shape with surprising speed.
Auroras are the result of the interplay between the sun and the earth’s magnetic field.
The spectacular show begins when charged particles are hurled from the sun as the solar wind. A portion of these particles are captured by the earth’s magnetic field and when they reach the atmosphere they are traveling at very high speeds. The light phenomena are a result of these charged particles colliding with atoms and molecules present in the atmosphere, where a portion of the particles’ kinetic energy is transformed into light, the northern lights.
The color of the northern lights is usually yellow-green, but can also be red or violet. The different colors depend on which type of atoms (mostly oxygen and nitrogen) that are hit by the charged particles, which velocity they have and type of charge. The most intense northern lights lie at an altitude of about 100 km, themselves encompassing a height of 10-30 km, but can stretch several hundreds of kilometers up, 1000 km at the most.
When and where is the best chance of seeing the northern lights? First of all, it has to be dark in order for the northern lights to be visible, and your chances are greater if you venture out to an open spot without any artificial lighting. It is only during the winter-half of the year, between September and April, that the nights are dark enough to see them clearly. You have the greatest chance of seeing the northern lights where they appear most frequently, which is up in Sweden’s Norrbotten County.

TIME REQUIRED: Approximately half a day or 2-2½ hours.
AVAILABILITY: Year-round, upon request.


Satellite instruments

IRF participates in several large international joint projects where both satellites and ground-based equipment are used. In both Kiruna and Uppsala, IRF builds instruments that are flown on satellites and space probes. Data from these instruments help us to better understand plasma-physical processes in the solar wind as well as around comets and planets. The very successful Swedish satellites Viking and Freja, carrying IRF instruments, have increased our knowledge about the northern lights processes in the earth’s magnetosphere.
At present, IRF has well-working instruments onboard satellites orbiting four planets in our solar system – Earth, Mars, Venus and Saturn. In addition, we have an instrument orbiting the moon and two instruments on board a space probe destined to meet with a comet. We are also preparing instruments to be sent off on a journey to Mercury in a couple of years. These instruments have been developed at IRF, or with IRF as the main responsible institute, and researchers at IRF now have unique opportunities to with essentially identical instruments compare the space environment around earth’s closest neighbors – Venus and Mars – and within a foreseeable future these measurements can be compared to those from other heavenly bodies in our solar system.

TIME REQUIRED: Approximately half a day or 2-2½ hours.
AVAILABILITY: Year-round, upon request.




Entrepreneurship & Brand Management

CONTENTS: Lecture about ICEHOTEL entrepreneurship. The history of ICEHOTEL, ICEBAR and more. Focus on mentorship and dialogue with visitors and their possibility to learn from ICEHOTEL and implement this knowledge back home.

TIME REQUIRED: about half a day or 3 hours.
AVAILABILITY: year-round upon request.