According to Vala Hafstad of Nature & Travel, the citizens of Reykjavik are being asked to turn off their lights on certain nights this year. The aurora borealis, also known as The Northern Lights, has been on occasion unusually intense this year. The city of Reykjavik has been cooperative too. Between 10 and 11 pm on nights of vivid activity, it has been turning off street lights downtown and in certain neighborhoods.
Reducing artificial light pollution provides better viewing of this spectacular natural phenomenon that occurs when electricity charged particles from the sun enter the earth’s atmosphere and crash into each other. Ruth & I had never experienced this.
However, last fall about this time we were staying in a hotel not too far from Reykjavik. When we checked in, the staff asked if we wanted to be alerted if the northern lights appeared that night. Indeed, we did. About 9:30 we got the call. I grabbed my camera and we headed outside. Almost everybody staying at this hotel was behind it taking pictures of not much. The Aurora Borealis was active but not especially beautiful that night. Despite this, everyone was enchanted with the show. We watched with the crowd for a while, but then Ruth & I went inside to warm up.
When we came back out, even more laughing hotel guests were out there gazing upward. It seemed as if the less intense the mostly white lights were, the more people showed up to see them.
If you want to see if there will be a light show in Iceland tonight, check vedur.com. Expect a sales pitch.