I have always wanted to see the Northern Lights ! Northern Lights also known as Aurora Borealis are colorful lights seen in the sky – most common color is a yellow – green ! ” This website provides a good explanation of the Northern lights . Some interesting points from northernlightscentre.ca :
- The Northern Lights are actually the result of collisions between gaseous particles in the Earth’s atmosphere with charged particles released from the sun’s atmosphere.
- Variations in color are due to the type of gas particles that are colliding. The most common auroral color, a pale yellowish-green
- The best places to watch the lights (in North America) are in the northwestern parts of Canada, particularly the Yukon, Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Alaska. Auroral displays can also be seen over the southern tip of Greenland and Iceland, the northern coast of Norway and over the coastal waters north of Siberia.
I choose to go to Iceland to see the Northern Lights in the month of February ! I found Iceland to have the cheapest flight ticket out of all the places recommended to see the Northern Lights. I am based out of Toronto, Canada . Iceland also offered many other attractions in addition to the Northern Lights ! Two of the main attraction in Iceland during winter time are the Northern Lights and Glacier Caves ! I wrote a post about Glacier Caves – check it out if you want to learn more about it.
We choose to stay in Iceland for about 5 days. The chance of seeing the Northern Lights depends on weather ( cloudy or not ) and auroral activity. The more days you have the higher the likelihood of seeing the Northern Lights . You have two mechanisms to see the Northern Lights . One is through a formal tour the other is by renting your own car and going out at night time to look for the lights. We choose to rent a car and search for the lights on our own ! Some information here on renting a car in Iceland.
We used the Iceland’s Aurora Forecast site to figure out the best time to go look for the lights. The scale on that site gives you a good indication of what your chances are to see the light on a given day. It changes constantly so always best to check it frequently. When the likelihood of seeing the Northern Lights was high, we drove out of the city, parked the car, and weighted for the lights. We were lucky in that we got to see the lights on three different days in varying strength ! On one day it was so strong that we could see it from our hotel room !
Photos – You have to set specific setting in your camera, in order to capture the Northern Lights in a photo. I had a photographer friend who came with us one the trip with us and she took all the photos for us using her fancy camera. So make sure to Google for the settings for your camera before going out to look for the lights !
The lights are uniquely beautiful and was definitely worth my trip to Iceland in winter !
Some photos below of the Northern Lights taken by my friend Jess on the trip .