The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis is an ethereal natural phenomenon that is predominantly visible around the Arctic region. The enchanting display of coloured lights is characterized by greenish-yellow light along with an occasional streak of blue and reddish violet hues. It derives its name from the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora, and from Greek, Boreas which denotes north winds. The best time to get a view of this majestic and mesmerizing piece of natural artwork is around late autumn and early spring.
This beguiling phenomenon occurs due to the electrically charged particles from the Sun colliding with the atoms in the magnetic field present in the atmosphere that binds the Earth. The energy generated from this collision is what we call as Northern Lights. The particular colour of red and green is visible due to collision with oxygen whereas blue and purple hues are on account of nitrogen collision. The phenomenon is closely related to the Solar activity and the varying intensity added with winds causes the spiral effect which we get to observe.
Now the question arises when is it possible to see the northern lights in Iceland? Although this spectacular natural occurrence is visible from a short few places, hospitability factors render a visit to most of the places improbable.
Iceland is one of the favourable places from where you get to see Northern Lights. This takes place during the month of September till May with December and January being the darkest months. If you happen to be in the country capital, Reykjavik, during the Winter Solstice on 21st December you are likely to see the Sun for three hours, for the sunrise and sunset are only hours apart from each other. Landing in Iceland is a job half done for the unpredictable nature of the charismatic display of colours. Also, you need to be at an accurate location and also have to take the weather into consideration.
There are a few more factors that one needs to understand and have to make decisions and plan your visit accordingly:
In order to get a proper view of Aurora Borealis, darkness is an important criterion. So it is ideal to visit during the months of November to March of the next year.
Iceland is very cold as the name itself suggests the fact. So the months during which the phenomenon takes place are extremely cold, with lots of rain and snow all around.
The Northern Lights are unpredictable and cyclic in nature. They tend to be active for two or three nights in a row and for the next five days may not be that prominent. So plan your duration of visit accordingly.
Being at an appropriate location is also very important, probably away from the cities with high pollution (both air and light). Ask from people around and make sure to have a good guide on your side (if possible).
If you are lucky enough to get the view of the Northern Lights, elongate your staying period as per convenience to take note of the scientific aspects regarding those lights.
The decision needs to be taken whether to have a tour guide on your side. They tend to be pretty expensive but it is assuring to have an expert guide you through the hazardous roads. If you like adventures, then you are better off on your own because the experience can be really thrilling and nerve-wracking.
If it’s in your budget, you could opt to chase the lights via whale watching boats’ trip. It will be a great experience to head out to the sea and enjoying the serene ambience.