The Hugely Popular Nightly Hunt For The Aurora Borealis Is On Again

Northern Lights seekers set up camp for the night

As Iceland slowly but surely enters its yearly sojourn into its dark side, Northern Lights Hunters awake from their slumber to take the lead in nightly searches for the often elusive Aurora Borealis aka The Northern Lights. To be able to catch a glimpse or, as luck may have it, long and in-depth view of the Northern Lights, a couple of factors must add up and come together. Firstly, of course, although the lights are ‘on’ all year round, Icelands’ endless summer nights need to go into their dark mode for the lights to be visible to the naked eye. Secondly, significants bursts of activity  known as solar eruptions or solar flares, need to have been measured a couple of days in advance. Particles from these eruptions are carried with the so called solar wind to the earth’s magnetic fields by the north and the south poles. When these particles clash into the earth’s atmosphere, the Northern Lights come to life, ususally in about 100 km height above our heads. that hammer the earths’ protective layers in the stratosphere. The chemical composition of the Northern lights, being most commonly seen in their green, yellow-green and red colour mode, can be likened to that of the gases found within the common neon signs. Smaller and larger bus companies take part in the nightly safari, with the bigger operators often driving out with thousands of Norhtern Lights hunters every given night when conditions are considered to be favourable for the hunt. By the by, there is no actual on/off switch for turning on the lights, so a healthy dose of patience is in order.

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