#29 Northern Lights

I have seen many pictures of the Northern Lights, ‘Aurora borealis’, but have never experienced them personally.  When we chose to travel to Iceland, we did so with viewing the Northern Lights as one of the main goals.  We chose to go in October because we had a better chance to seeing them.  Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate well for us as we had several rainy nights and cloudy nights due to the storms from the remnants of hurricane Matthew.  Finally, on the second to the last day of our tour, we had a night that eventually cleared. After several false starts, finally at 2:00 a.m. we had clear skies. The tour guide woke us up and took us outside the city to get a better view.

The Northern Lights were not as I expected. I expected to see bright green lights moving in waves just like you see in photographs and movies.  This night they appeared as a wide straight line traversing the sky in a color that I would describe as dull gray with a slight hint of green. It looked like smoke from an airplane. However, when photographed with special settings, i.e., low light and open shutter for several seconds, the lights appeared bright green.  These lights would appear for a several seconds then disappear for a few minutes, then reappear again for a short time.

Then the last night we were able to view the Northern Lights again from Reykjavik.  These were much more spectacular.  They did not appear as straight lines, rather as waves. They appeared for a few seconds then disappeared.  Then a new wave of lights would appear somewhere else in the sky.  These were brighter, but still a dull gray, until we saw the pictures.

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