Northern lights are also known as Aurora borealis meaning dawn of the north derived from the word Aurora, the Roman goddess of dawn and Boreas, the Greek god of the north wind, the name evoke some of the majestic, otherworldly splendour of Auroral display. The northern lights occurs high above the surface of the earth where the atmosphere layer is extremely thin normally having an attitude of 100-250 km. Auroras can be seen in auroral belts that forms 20-25 degrees around the geomagnetic poles both the north and south. Due to the nature of Earth’s magnetic field, auroras only appear at the poles usually above 60 degree latitude mark in the north and below 60 degree latitude mark in the south. The auroras formed are known as Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis respectively. Thus, Iceland is situated at a perfect position of approximately 64 degrees north for a great view of the northern lights.
HOW THEY ARE FORMED:-
The northern lights are visual effects of solar particles entering the Earth’s magnetic field at high atmosphere and ionizing. Their intensity depends on the solar activity as well as acceleration speed of the particles. The solar wind’s stream of highly charged particles (protons and electrons) escaping the sun, interacts with our planet’s magnetic field and atmosphere. The particles are trapped in the Earth’s magnetic field and spiral back and forth along the magnetic lines of force, circling around the magnetic pole.
While gushing around endlessly in their magnetic trap, some particles escape into the Earth’s atmosphere and series of tiny collisions occur and cause the molecules to glow, creating auroras.
The lights appear like its dancing high in the sky and varies in color such as green, pink, white, purple or blue, though green and white are more dominant. The variance in the color depends on the elements being ionized. As the pressure and composition of the atmosphere varies at different altitude.
WHAT ARE THE PRE-REQUISITES TO WITNESS THIS GLORY IN ICELAND:-
• Best time to witness Aurora Borealis in Iceland is from early September to end of April.
• The night must be clear and dark as possible. Such as a fuller moon may dim the Aurora.
• There should be as little natural light as possible that is to omit any kind of light pollution.
• There should be little to no cloud cover as well as there must be enough solar activity.
ABOUT MAGICAL SKY ICELAND:-
Jon Hilmarsson is an Icelandic pro nature and landscape photographer and runs photography tour and workshops in Iceland. Each tour or workshop is operated in small groups and on a personal level and include information about all the photography skills and long exposure to methodology.
Since, Jon is an Icelandic native he will not only show you the beautiful country but also tell you about Icelandic history, folklore, ancient stories and culture.
To know more about this tour facilitator do visit https://magicalskyiceland.com/photo-tours/northern-lights/
Tours can be arranged through various vehicles such as small buses to modified Jeeps.