I was lucky enough to spot the Northern Lights in Iceland in August and it was really a great thrill. Almost mocked by the Icelanders who are now addicted to this phenomenon and no longer pay much attention to it. Tourists, instead, are always amazed by this gift of nature. Not everyone, however, can claim to have had the same luck. In fact, August is not the best time to spot it. So what is the best period to see the Northern Lights in Iceland?
There is no single answer because in recent years, also due to climate change, this magical and mysterious phenomenon has surprised visitors in many areas of Northern Europe even in less suitable months. There are those who left in August or September without the slightest hope of seeing it and instead were surprised to see it dancing in the skies. And then, there are those who went to Northern Europe in the middle of winter, months considered more suitable, and remained high and dry.
Capture the Northern Lights in Iceland
Iceland is the perfect spot to admire the Northern Lights thanks to the fact that it is still sparsely populated, with reduced air pollution, endless wild and uncontaminated expanses. The phenomenon of Northern Lights in Iceland is so vast that often covers the entire island. However, in the last fifteen days of August and early September, the north of Iceland is better suited for sightings. The real problem during the summer, in fact, is represented by the few hours of darkness a day. The sun usually sets around 10.30pm and rises again around 3am.
Húsavik and Akureyri, famous for being the departure point for whale watching and the second most important city in the country, can be considered excellent spots as they are located in the north, where the nights are slightly longer. The important thing is to move away from too bright sources and have a lot of patience. You can support your Northern Lights hunt in Iceland with technical tools such as the Aurora app or specialized websites that are able to indicate the power index of the phenomenon, with relative times, maps and sighting percentages.
The best time to spot the Northern Lights in Iceland is from September to April, with little chance at the end of August. In the months of February and March and those of September and October, coinciding with the equinoxes, there is a greater chance of witnessing this phenomenon.
Capture the Northern Lights in Iceland: where and when to spot it
Whether in Iceland, Norway or Lapland, there is only one Northern Lights. And it exists all year round even if we can only spot it to the naked eye in some periods due to too much light. But what is it about? The game of green, yellow or fuchsia lights, which we can admire in the sky at certain times of the year, is an atmospheric phenomenon, determined by the interaction between the electron and proton particles fired by the sun, the solar wind and the atoms of our ionosphere. So even if we can often see it dancing with the naked eye, actually its origins must be founded about 150 million kilometers away from us. The more it is visible to the naked eye, the more it means that solar activity is intense. This can also be a problem for satellites and related communications.