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Facts about Northern Lights in Iceland

The northern night occur in the northern hemisphere from mid-September to mid-April but are only visible when the sky is clear and free of clouds. The northern lights, also called Aurora Borealis, can only be seen when there are:

  1. Dark nights (it is not possible to see the northern lights during the summer when there are 20-24 hours of daylight)
  2. Clear sky (no rain, no clouds, no snow, no fog)
  3. Solar explosions that actually create the northern lights.

When all these elements come together there is a realistic chance of seeing the northern lights about twice a week, The rule is simple; the longer you stay in locations away from cities and light popullation the higher is the chance to see the northern lights.

Like many of natural wonders, the northern lights are ephemeral - they may be visible, they may appear for a bit and then be gone. It is not a TV show that you can just turn on and off. If the perfect northern lights happen at noon, you will not be able to see them because it is not dark. If the perfect northern lights dance in the sky at 11 o'clock at night but it shows or it is cloudy, then again it is not possible to see them. But the patience, which is required, is totally worth it! As they are a winter event, you need to be prepared to wait outside away from light pullution while looking for them. It is best to dress very warmly, in layers, with good footwear, gloves, hats and whatever else that will make you comfortable while you await patiently this truly outstanding event. Note that Iceland is the warmest country of all the northern lights destinations. Due to the Gulf Stream, the average temperature in Icelandic wintertime approaches 0 celsius (32F), which is often warmer than you might encounter in New York, London and even in Continental Europe! For the best photos, we recommend using a tripod.




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