Northern Lights Tours

Northern Lights Tours in Iceland 

You won't believe your eyes! Witness the most spectacular show on earth in the most beautiful place on earth. Surrounded by incredible nature, Iceland is a magical place to watch in awe as the green, red and purple aurora borealis dance across the night sky. Join us as we take you on a hunt for the Northern Lights. Check out all you need to know about the Northern Lights in Iceland by scrolling down the page.

Northern Lights Tours

Northern Lights Tours

 
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Northern Lights Tour

Experience the mysterious Northern Lights tour in Iceland with their ghostly dance in the winter night sky and learn about the science behind the magic!

Duration: 4 hours
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From: € 62
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Golden Circle & Northern Lights Tour

Come for the Golden Circle and stay for the Northern Lights. Join us on this day-and-night combo tour and discover the essence of Iceland.

Duration: 11 hours
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From: € 132
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South Coast & Northern Lights Mystery

Experience the best of Iceland´s South Coast with an evening Northern Lights Tour.

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From: € 145
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Blue Lagoon and Northern Lights (Admission Included)

Enjoy a relaxing visit to the Blue lagoon and then head out into the night to search for Northern Lights.

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From: € 186
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Northern Lights Private Tour

Stand and watch in awe as the Aurora Borealis dance across the sky above you with a perfect experience of our private tour.

Duration: 4 hours
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From: € 133.6
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Northern Lights Cruise Tour from Reykjavik

Join us on a Northern Lights Cruise tour and watch breathtaking Aurora Borealis from a boat cruising off Reykjavik’s coast, in the dark blue yonder of Faxaflói.

Duration: 2 hours
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From: € 90
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Embark on an Unforgettable Northern Lights Tour in Iceland

Are you ready to witness one of the most mesmerizing natural phenomena on Earth? Look no further than Iceland, the land of fire and ice, where the Northern Lights dance across the night sky in a spectacular display of colors. Join us on a Northern Lights tour in Iceland and prepare to be awestruck by the beauty of the aurora borealis.

Northern Lights over a mountain in Iceland

What are the Northern Lights?

The Northern Lights, also known as aurora borealis, are a breathtaking celestial spectacle that occurs in the polar regions of our planet. These ethereal lights are created when charged particles from the sun collide with atoms and molecules in the Earth's atmosphere, resulting in a stunning display of colors and patterns. The most common color seen in the Northern Lights is green, but they can also appear in shades of red, purple, blue, and yellow.

When is the Best Time to See the Northern Lights in Iceland?

If you're planning a Northern Lights tour in Iceland, it's important to know the best time to witness this magical phenomenon. The Northern Lights season in Iceland typically runs from late August to late April, when the nights are long and dark. However, the optimal time to see the lights is during the months of October, November, February, and March. These months offer the best chance of clear skies and increased solar activity, creating ideal conditions for aurora viewing. Be ready for cold temperatures and don´t forget to pack your winter boots. Don´t forget that seeing the Northern Lights depends on a lot of factors, so planning ahead is key.

How to Check the Forecast for Northern Lights in Iceland?

To maximize your chances of seeing the Northern Lights during your Iceland trips, it's essential to stay informed about the forecast. The Kp Index, a scale used to express disturbances in the Earth's magnetic field caused by solar activity, is a valuable tool for predicting aurora activity. A Kp Index of 0-2 indicates low activity, 2-3 suggests moderate activity, 4-6 indicates high activity, and 7-9 signifies very high activity. Keep an eye on the Kp Index and plan your Northern Lights tour accordingly.

Where Can I See the Northern Lights in Iceland?

Iceland offers numerous locations where you can witness the Northern Lights in all their glory. The best spots for aurora viewing are away from light pollution, so venture into the countryside or remote areas for an unobstructed view of the night sky. Some popular locations for Northern Lights tours in Iceland include Thingvellir National Park, Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, and the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. These areas provide not only an opportunity to see the aurora but also a chance to explore Iceland's stunning landscapes.

Choosing the right Iceland Northern Lights Tours

When planning your Northern Lights tour in Iceland, it's crucial to choose the right tour operator to ensure an unforgettable experience. Gray Line Iceland offers a range of tours designed to maximize your chances of seeing the Northern Lights. Whether you prefer a guided bus tour or a private tour with a knowledgeable local guide, Gray Line Iceland has the perfect option for you. Sit back, relax, and let our expert guides take you on a magical journey to witness the aurora borealis.

Northern Lights in Iceland

Capturing the Magic: Photographing the Northern Lights

No Northern Lights tour in Iceland is complete without capturing the magic on camera. Photographing the aurora can be a challenging task, but with the right equipment and techniques, you can preserve this awe-inspiring experience forever. Make sure to bring a camera with a manual setting, a wide-angle lens, a tripod for stability, and a remote or self-timer to avoid camera shake. Set your camera to manual mode, focus on infinity, use a wide aperture, and experiment with different exposure times to capture the vibrant colors of the Northern Lights.

Planning Your Northern Lights Tour Iceland

Before embarking on your Northern Lights tour in Iceland, it's essential to be prepared and pack accordingly. Dress warmly in layers, as the Icelandic weather can be unpredictable, and temperatures can drop significantly during the winter months. Don't forget to bring a hat, gloves, warm socks, and sturdy footwear to keep yourself comfortable during the tour. Additionally, make sure to check the weather forecast and the Kp Index before heading out to maximize your chances of seeing the Northern Lights.

The Science and Mythology of the Northern Lights

The northern lights have captivated humans for centuries, inspiring myths and legends across different cultures. While modern science has provided an understanding of the phenomenon, the enchantment and mystery surrounding the lights continue to evoke a sense of wonder. In Norse mythology, the lights were believed to be a reflection of Valkyrian armor or a bridge to the afterlife. Indigenous cultures, such as the Sámi people, viewed the lights as the souls of the departed, and cautionary tales warned against disrespecting them. The cultural significance of the northern lights adds an extra layer of fascination to the natural spectacle.

Northern Lights in Iceland

Additional Information about Iceland northern lights tour

For a seamless and unforgettable Northern Lights tour in Iceland, Gray Line Iceland offers a variety of packages and services. From guided bus tours to private tours and even honeymoon packages that include the aurora borealis, Gray Line Iceland has it all. Explore the options available on their website and choose the tour that suits your preferences and budget. Don't miss out on the opportunity to witness this awe-inspiring natural phenomenon in one of the most beautiful countries on Earth.

Enjoy your Northern Lights tour in Iceland with Gray Line!

Embarking on a Northern Lights tour in Iceland is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will leave you breathless. The beauty and magic of the aurora borealis are unparalleled, and Iceland provides the perfect backdrop for this extraordinary spectacle. With the right preparation, guidance, and a little bit of luck, you can witness nature's most captivating light show in one of the world's most enchanting destinations. Join us on a Northern Lights tour in Iceland and let the magic unfold before your eyes.

The Northern Lights: A Natural Phenomenon

The Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, are an incredible natural phenomenon that dance across the night sky. This mesmerizing phenomenon occurs when solar particles from the sun collide with the Earth's upper atmosphere, creating a stunning light show. These radiant ribbons of light can be seen in high-latitude regions, such as Iceland, during the dark winter nights.

Why Choose a Northern Lights Tour in Iceland?

While it is possible to spot the Northern Lights on your own, joining a guided tour in Iceland offers a multitude of benefits. Gray Line Iceland offers a variety of tour options, including bus tours, boat cruises, and private tours, ensuring that you have the best chance of witnessing this natural wonder. Here are some reasons why a Northern Lights tour is the perfect choice:

  1. Expert Knowledge and Guidance: By joining a tour, you'll have access to knowledgeable guides who are experts in the Northern Lights. They will share fascinating insights about the phenomenon, including its scientific origins and cultural significance.

  2. Optimal Viewing Locations: Gray Line Iceland's tours take you to the best spots for Northern Lights sightings, far away from the city's light pollution from street lights. Whether it's a bus tour that brings you to remote locations or a boat cruise that allows you to witness the aurora borealis dancing on the open sea, you'll be in the perfect setting for an unforgettable experience.

  3. Aurora Forecast and Tips: The tour guides closely monitor the aurora forecast, ensuring that you have the highest chances of witnessing the Northern Lights. They will also provide valuable tips on how to capture the light display with your phone or camera, so you can document this magical moment and share it with the world.

  4. Convenience and Comfort: Joining a Northern Lights tour takes the hassle out of planning and navigating the best locations for sightings. Gray Line Iceland's tours include transport, accommodation, and other amenities, ensuring a comfortable and stress-free experience.

Popular Northern Lights Tours in Iceland

Gray Line Iceland offers a range of Northern Lights tours to suit different preferences and budgets. Whether you're an adventure seeker, a photography enthusiast, or a nature lover, there's a tour that will cater to your interests. Here are some of the tour options available:

1. Northern Lights Bus Tour

Experience the thrill of chasing the Northern Lights on a bus tour that takes you to the best viewing spots in Iceland's picturesque countryside. Departing from Reykjavik, you'll embark on an exciting journey under the guidance of experienced tour guides. These knowledgeable experts will share fascinating stories and insights about the Northern Lights, adding depth to your experience.

2. Northern Lights Boat Cruise

For a unique perspective of the Northern Lights, embark on a boat cruise that takes you out to sea. As you sail away from the city lights, you'll be surrounded by the tranquility of the open water, providing the perfect backdrop for witnessing the auroras. The gentle rocking of the boat adds to the enchanting ambiance, creating a truly unforgettable experience.

3. Private Northern Lights Tour

For a more personalized experience, consider a private Northern Lights tour. This option allows you to tailor the tour to your preferences, ensuring a truly unique and intimate experience. Whether you're celebrating a special occasion or simply prefer a more exclusive setting, a private tour offers flexibility and privacy.

4. Super Jeep Northern Lights Tour

For the adventurous at heart, a Super Jeep Northern Lights tour is the perfect choice. Hop aboard a specially modified 4x4 vehicle and venture off-road, exploring remote areas that are inaccessible to regular vehicles. This thrilling off-road adventure adds an extra element of excitement to your Northern Lights experience, making it truly unforgettable.

Other Attractions to Explore in Iceland

While the Northern Lights are undoubtedly the highlight of any Iceland tour, there are many other attractions and activities, like the Golden Circle, Ice caves, and Blue Lagoon, that await you in this stunning country. Here are some must-visit destinations and experiences to consider while you visit Iceland:

  1. Blue Lagoon: No trip to Iceland is complete without a visit to the famous Blue Lagoon. This geothermal spa is renowned for its warm, mineral-rich waters that are believed to have therapeutic properties. Relax and rejuvenate in the milky-blue waters for a few hours while surrounded by Iceland's dramatic volcanic landscape. See all of the options to visit the Blue Lagoon with Gray Line Iceland.

  2. Golden Circle: Explore Iceland's iconic Golden Circle, a popular tourist route that encompasses three must-see attractions: the mighty Gullfoss waterfall, the geothermal wonders of Geysir, and the historic Þingvellir National Park. Marvel at the power of nature as you witness these extraordinary natural wonders that make the Golden Circle a must see in Iceland.

  3. South Coast: Journey along Iceland's breathtaking South Coast and discover stunning landscapes, including the black sand beaches of Reynisfjara, the majestic Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls, and the mesmerizing Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. This scenic route offers endless opportunities for exploration and photography

  4. Snæfellsnes Peninsula: Visit the captivating Snæfellsnes Peninsula, often referred to as "Iceland in Miniature" due to its diverse and picturesque landscapes. Explore the iconic Kirkjufell mountain, walk along the dramatic cliffs of Arnarstapi, and marvel at the beauty of Snæfellsjökull National Park, home to a majestic glacier and volcanic wonders.

  5. Reykjavik: Take some time to explore the vibrant capital city of Reykjavik. Discover its charming streets, visit iconic landmarks such as Hallgrimskirkja Church, and immerse yourself in the city's vibrant arts and culture scene. Don't forget to sample Icelandic cuisine, indulge in the city's renowned nightlife, and soak up the friendly and welcoming atmosphere

Create Lasting Memories on a Northern Lights Tour in Reykjavik

Embarking on a Northern Lights tour in Iceland is an experience that will leave you with lasting memories. Gray Line Iceland's expertly curated tours provide the perfect opportunity to witness the mesmerizing beauty of the aurora borealis while exploring the stunning landscapes and attractions of this unique country. Whether you choose a bus tour, boat cruise, or private tour, you're guaranteed an unforgettable adventure filled with wonder, awe, and a sense of connection to the natural world. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready to embark on a journey of a lifetime to witness the magical Northern Lights in Reykjavik, the heart of Iceland.

 

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions on the Northern Lights in Iceland

Everything You Need to Know About Aurora Borealis

  1. Where can I find useful information I need to know about the Northern Lights in Iceland?
  2. What’s the best time to see the Northern Lights in Iceland in 2023 - 2024?
  3. How to check the forecast for Northern Lights in Iceland?
  4. What is the Kp Index?
  5. How close to Earth are the Northern Lights?
  6. What causes the Northern Lights?
  7. What is the origin of the name Aurora Borealis?
  8. What causes the Aurora Borealis?
  9. Where in the world can I see the Northern Lights?
  10. How much does it cost to see the Northern Lights?
  11. What is the best place to see the Northern Lights?
  12. Which hotels are the best to see the Northern Lights in Iceland?
  13. Is there a honeymoon package that includes the Aurora Borealis?
  14. Is seeing the Northern Lights guaranteed?
  15. How long do the Northern Lights last?
  16. Is Aurora Borealis viewing best with a moon or no moon?
  17. Are the Northern Lights and Southern Lights the same?
  18. What is the most common color of the Northern Lights?
  19. How many colors are in the aurora?
  20. Why are the Northern Lights different colors?
  21. Why is the Aurora Borealis only in the north?
  22. What’s the difference between the Aurora Borealis and the Northern Lights?
  23. Why are the Northern Lights called Aurora Borealis?
  24. Why are the shapes of the Northern Lights so different?
  25. What is the history of the Northern Lights?
  26. Why see the Northern Lights?
  27. Does it have to be cold to see the Northern Lights?
  28. How can I get a photo of the Northern Lights?
  29. What kind of photo gear do I need for the Northern Lights?
  30. Do the Northern Lights make a sound?
  31. How does the Aurora Borealis affect Earth?
  32. Does pollution cause the Northern Lights?
  33. Are the Northern Lights radioactive?
  34. Are the Northern Lights harmful to humans?
  35. Is Aurora Borealis dangerous?
  36. Do other planets have Aurora Borealis?
  37. Can I see the Northern Lights from the U.S.A.?
  38. Are the Northern Lights in Alaska like the lights of the north in Iceland?

Where can I find useful information I need to know about the Northern Lights in Iceland?

We have prepared a long list of the most frequently asked questions related to the aurora borealis to help you make the most of the Northern Lights in Iceland

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What’s the best time to see the Northern Lights in Iceland in 2023 - 2024?

Northern lights season in Iceland is from late August until late April. The darker and brighter the skies, the better for seeing the aurora borealis. With that in mind, October and November 2023 and February and March 2024 are your best bet to see northern lights in Iceland this winter.

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How to check the forecast for Northern Lights in Iceland?

You have several options when it comes to checking the Northern Lights forecast in Iceland, including veður (weather in Icelandic), Aurora Forecast, and Gray Line Iceland posts daily updates on Facebook.

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What is the Kp Index?

The Kp Index comes from the German, Kennziffer Planetarische, which means planetary index number. The Kp Index was developed by German geophysicist and statistician Julias Bartels around 1939.

It is a scale used to express disturbances in the horizontal component of the Earth’s magnetic field caused by solar activity. The scale ranges from 0 to 9, with 9 being the highest level of disturbance.

In Iceland, the Kp Index usually means the following:
  • 0-2 Low: Little to no activity. This doesn’t mean there will be absolutely no lights, but it’s unlikely.
  • 2-3 Moderate: There will likely be some aurora activity.
  • 4-6 High: There will be northern lights. Cross your fingers and hope you’re in the right place at the right time under clear skies.
  • 7-9 Very High: It’s your lucky day! The skies will likely be filled with a dazzling display at some point during the night.

It is important to keep in mind that the northern lights are a natural phenomenon and, therefore, ultimately unpredictable.

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How close to Earth are the Northern Lights?

The Northern Lights occur high in the upper atmosphere. They can appear as low as 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Earth’s surface and up to as high as 640 kilometers (400 miles) above the Earth. For your better imagination, commercial airplanes generally fly at about 9-11 km (6-7 miles) above Earth.

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What causes the Northern Lights?

The Northern Lights, also known as aurora borealis, are caused by solar activity, including solar wind, solar flares, solar storms, and coronal mass ejections (CME). These are all forms of electrically charged particles ejected by the sun. It takes a solar flare about 8 minutes to travel from the sun to the earth and collide with gaseous particles in the Earth’s atmosphere. Due to variations in the Earth’s magnetic field and the dark winters at the north and south poles, the lights are more visible near the poles than anywhere else in the world.

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What is the origin of the name Aurora Borealis?

The name aurora borealis was coined by Galileo in 1619 and came from Latin. Aurora means dawn or refers to Aurora, the Roman goddess of the dawn, and Borealis means north. Translated, it means dawn in the north. Galileo believed the lights were caused by sunlight reflecting through the atmosphere. He wasn’t exactly right, but he wasn’t too far off either.

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What causes the Aurora Borealis?

Aurora borealis is another name for the northern lights. You can find your answer under question number 5. What causes the northern lights?

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Where in the world can I see the Northern Lights?

You can see the northern lights in Iceland, Alaska, Canada, Norway, and other places in the world. It is important to keep in mind that the polar latitudes have the best view of the northern lights. Anywhere above or north of the magnetic 55º with low light pollution is a good place to catch the lights. The 55th parallel north runs through northern parts of Europe, Asia, and North America.

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How much does it cost to see the Northern Lights in Iceland?

It doesn’t cost anything to see the Northern Lights. However, knowing the best spots to see the aurora borealis when they are visible takes knowledge of Iceland, which our expert guides have acquired over time. Additionally, tours like our Northern Lights Mystery tour, allows you to focus on capturing the best photo of the northern lights. At the same time, we do all of the driving and share the science behind the mysterious lights that appear in the sky.

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What is the best place to see the Northern Lights in Iceland?

The best place to see the northern lights is in Iceland, of course, or anywhere dark in the Arctic region. Iceland does have the advantage of being a beautiful place to visit with plenty of things to do and see before spending your night chasing after the lights.

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Which hotels are the best to see the Northern Lights in Iceland?

Hotels located far away from light pollution are the best to stay in if you want to have a good chance of seeing northern lights. As part of our private tour, Gray Line can make arrangements at suitable countryside hotels.

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Is there a honeymoon package that includes the Aurora Borealis?

Gray Line offers the Northern Lights Mystery Private Tour, which is perfect for honeymooners and those that want a northern lights tour with a more personal touch.

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Is seeing the Northern Lights guaranteed?

No, seeing the northern lights is not guaranteed. They are a naturally occurring phenomenon, and their visibility is determined by many factors beyond human control, including solar winds and cloud cover.

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How long do the Northern Lights last?

Northern lights season (the time when they are most likely to be visible) lasts from late August to late April in Iceland. As for how long they last, when they appear in the night sky can vary significantly from just a few minutes up to hours at a time. During those few minutes to hours, the lights can also vary in intensity.

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Is Aurora Borealis viewing best with a moon or no moon?

Aurora borealis or northern lights viewing is best with no moon. Most of us don’t think of the moon as a light polluter, but in the case of the northern lights, it is. Aurora can be dimmed by moonlight, especially from a full moon, unless the northern lights are intensely bright.

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Are the Northern Lights and southern lights the same?

Yes, the northern lights and southern lights are the same type of phenomenon with different names depending on where they appear on the planet. In the northern hemisphere, they are called northern lights or aurora borealis (dawn of the north), and in the southern hemisphere, they are called southern lights or aurora australis (dawn of the south).

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What is the most common color of the Northern Lights?

The most common color seen in the northern lights is green. This is because the solar wind usually collides with the Earth’s atmosphere at an altitude rich in the oxygen. When the particles are excited, they emit the color green, which is also more detectable to the human eye.

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How many colors are in the aurora?

Most of the colors that are visible to the human eye can appear in the aurora, including red, yellow, green, pink, blue, and purple. Green is the color most commonly seen in the aurora. Ultraviolet colors are also produced by the northern lights but can only be seen with special camera equipment.

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Why are the northern lights different colors?

Northern lights appear in different colors depending on the kinds of particles that are colliding or being “excited” in the Earth’s atmosphere, and how high up they are in the atmosphere. The typical colors, pale green and yellow, are caused by oxygen molecules. Oxygen molecules can also create reddish northern lights, especially at high altitudes, while nitrogen produces blue and purple lights.

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Why is the aurora borealis only in the north?

The aurora borealis is created by solar winds coming from the sun, which are drawn to the Earth’s north and south poles. This means the lights are more visible near the north and south poles. The lights are called different names, depending on where they appear.

In the north, they are called aurora borealis or northern lights because they occur in the northern hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere, this same phenomenon goes by different names; aurora australis and southern lights.

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What’s the difference between the aurora borealis and the northern lights?

There is no difference between the aurora borealis and the northern lights. They are two names for the same natural phenomenon.

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Why are the northern lights called aurora borealis?

Aurora borealis is an older Latin name for the northern lights meaning dawn in the north.

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Why are the shapes of the northern lights so different?

The shapes of the northern lights are so different due to the variations in the Earth’s magnetic field. The main shapes of the aurora can be described as arc, glow, patches, rays, coronas, and curtains.

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What is the history of the northern lights?

Whether you call them northern lights or aurora borealis, they have fascinated people for at least as long as we have recorded history and probably well before. There is even speculation that prehistoric Cro-Magnon cave paintings that date back to 30,000 BC may depict the aurora.

The earliest mention of the northern lights in recorded human history can be found in Chinese writings that date all the way back to 2600 BC. And in many ancient cultures, it was thought that the northern lights were the souls of the dead ascending to the afterlife. The aurora has even been seen as omens of good by some and evil by others.

It wasn’t until 1790 that Henry Cavendish was able to use triangulation to determine that the light from the aurora was produced at 100-130 (60 miles) above the surface of the Earth. And around 1901, through his terrella experiment, Norwegian physicist Kristian Birkeland concluded that the lights were caused by currents flowing through the gas in Earth’s upper atmosphere.

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Why see the northern lights?

The northern lights can sometimes appear as a faint green glow that fills the sky. The faint green glow may gradually narrow into an undulating band that arcs across the sky. And as the color deepens into a more intense green edged in faint pink or yellow, the ribbon of illuminated color stretches high into the sky, rippling into the darkness above, a dancing curtain of light moving back and forth across a black canvas sprinkled with distant stars. Very few people in the world get to witness this remarkable natural occurrence. When granted the opportunity to witness such an awe-inspiring phenomenon, one should definitely take it.

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Does it have to be cold to see the northern lights?

No, it doesn’t have to be cold to see the northern lights, but as the aurora is most visible during the winter, it is usually quite cold out. What matters most for seeing the northern lights is darkness.

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How can I get a photo of the northern lights?

You’ll need two things to make sure you capture the northern lights perfectly: a camera (even your smartphone will do) and a tripod. Neither your camera nor your tripod need to be top of the line. You need to know how to get the most out of them. If you’re using your smartphone, these tips will help you get a great shot of the lights. If you’re using a regular camera you’ll need to keep these things in mind:
  • Make sure your camera has a manual setting. Set both your camera and lens to manual mode so that you can manually change the aperture and focus.
  • A wide-angle lens is preferable but not necessary. Having a wide-angle lens is a plus as it will allow you to capture the full scope and grandeur of the lights.
  • Turn OFF your flash.
  • Turn off image stabilization.
  • Use a remote, self-timer, or an app to release the shutter remotely. Because you will be using a long exposure, even the slight movement caused by pressing the shutter can blur your image.
And then use these simple settings to get started photographing the northern lights:
  • Set the lens’ focus to infinity. Because the lights are so far away, you’ll want the camera to be focused on the furthest possible point. This can be a challenge in the dark, so it’s best to do this before it gets dark out.
    Using the manual mode on your lens, focus to infinity. If need be, use tape or a marker (brightly colored to show up in the dark) to mark the setting. If you end up having to do this at night, pick the furthest light source around (you can use a flashlight for this too) and focus on it.
    Be careful not to change the focus setting while waiting for the lights.
  • As for metering, different cameras work best using different modes. For Nikons, you’ll want to set it to a matrix or center-weighted average metering, and for Canons use evaluative metering.
  • Using manual mode, set the lens aperture or f-stop as wide as possible, that is the lowest f-number that your lens can go.
  • Set your exposure according to the movement of the lights. For particularly active lights, 5-10 seconds will do, but for more subtle and/or slow-moving lights, you can try 20-25 seconds.
  • Your ISO setting will depend on the intensity of the lights. If the lights are quite bright, start with ISO 800 and go up from there should the lights be dimmer or begin at ISO 1600 if they are dim and go down from there.
  • In order to capture the colors of the lights as accurately as possible, custom set your white balance to Kelvin 3,000 or so and adjust accordingly.

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What kind of photo gear do I need for the northern lights?

You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to photograph the northern lights. All you really need is a decent camera, a tripod, and possibly a flashlight. Bundle up, because it’s sure to be cold out, escape the light pollution, and check out this handy list to help you prepare for your northern lights hunt.

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Do the northern lights make a sound?

Yes, the northern lights can make a sound, a several. Scientists have dubbed the sounds vox aurorae or the voice of the aurora. While aurora enthusiasts have claimed to hear rumbling, crackling, or hissing sounds accompanying the lights for years, it wasn’t until recently that scientists confirmed that there is indeed a sound associated with the lights.

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How does the aurora borealis affect Earth?

The northern lights don’t affect the Earth; however, the solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CME) that interact with the Earth’s magnetic field to cause the aurora can affect our technology and infrastructure. The electrically charged particles (electrical current) carried to Earth by solar flares and CMEs can adversely affect electrical power grids, radio signals, computer networks (cloud storage, for example), and oil and gas pipelines.

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Does pollution cause the northern lights?

No, solar winds or flares are the cause of the northern lights, not pollution. You can read more about what causes the northern lights in answer to question number 5. What causes the northern lights?

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Are the northern lights radioactive?

Solar flares and CME release large amounts of radiation into space, and our magnetic field deflects most of these harmful rays. The small amount of energy from solar flares that enter the Earth’s atmosphere excites the particles found there, creating the northern lights.

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Are the northern lights harmful to humans?

No, the northern lights are not harmful to humans. The interaction between the electrically charged particles from the sun and the Earth’s atmosphere doesn’t produce anything harmful to humans, only a beautiful light show.

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Is Aurora borealis dangerous?

No, the aurora borealis is not dangerous. In questions 32-35, you’ll find answers to similar questions regarding the northern lights.

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Do other planets have Aurora Borealis?

Yes, other planets have aurora. The requirements for aurora are solar activity and a magnetic field or some other magnetic activity such as magnetized rocks (in the case of Mars) or a magnetotail (in the case of Venus). And other planets in our solar system certainly meet those requirements. Aurora has been observed around Mars, Venus, Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune.

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Can I see the Northern Lights from the U.S.A.?

Yes, you can see the northern lights from the USA. The far northern states, including Alaska, Idaho (panhandle), Maine, Minnesota, and Michigan (Upper Peninsula), have regular northern light appearances. If there is especially high solar activity, such as a coronal mass ejection or solar storm, the northern lights can be seen as far south as Hawaii, which is at the 21st parallel. It is incredibly rare but has happened at least once.

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Are the Northern Lights in Alaska like the northern lights in Iceland?

No, the northern lights in Alaska are not like the northern lights in Iceland. As the sun shines on every place on Earth and yet doesn’t shine in all places, the northern lights are not the same in all places as well. Iceland is a bit warmer than Alaska in winter, and we don’t have any pesky bears, moose, or wolves that might interrupt your northern lights viewing experience. And just as you will find in Alaska, we also have mountains, lakes, and glaciers and we also have glacier lagoons, geothermally active areas, volcanoes, amazing waterfalls, stunning bird cliffs and so much more. Why not come for a visit and see for yourself?

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