Iceland 2013: More aurorae!

Posted by Liz Kruesi
on Sunday, March 24, 2013

Both last night and tonight we were fortunate enough to see more northern lights. Saturday gave an incredible show and Sunday’s was a nice going-away gift — tomorrow is the day we leave beautiful Iceland.

The aurorae shimmered again Saturday and Sunday nights above Reykjavik. Saturday's show was absolutely incredible. // all photos by Liz Kruesi
On Saturday, we had made our way along the southwest of the island and back to Reykjavik (after spending the previous three days near Iceland's southern coast). Following a dinner about 45 minutes outside Reykjavik, the bus drove to a nearby park for us to watch the hole in the clouds and hope that the northern lights would make an appearance. After about an hour of no aurorae, we gave up and continued the drive to the capital city.

Then, as we neared Reykjavik, those of us seated on the right side of the bus spotted a pale green “cloud.” It brightened in spots, and there was no mistaking what it was. (I think at least half of us were screaming in excitement.)

So, our fabulous bus driver chased a clearing in the clouds to a park on the northwest side of Reykjavik, to look across the bay.

The aurora framed the light from the Imagine Peace Tower, a memorial to John Lennon from his widow Yoko Ono.
For some 30 minutes, the lights danced across the sky, brightening, swirling, fading, and repeating the cycle. The aurora’s dominant color was green — caused by emission from oxygen atoms in Earth’s atmosphere — but we also spied red and purple at times. Unfortunately, my amateur photography skills couldn’t capture these other colors, and with no bright star visible near the aurora, I still had trouble focusing my images.

But even if my photographs were perfect, they could not capture how absolutely incredible the experience was of watching the northern lights shimmer in the sky.

I’ll post more about the other tour activities tomorrow night.

Read more about the trip in my previous posts:

Iceland 2013: Lava fields and glaciers

Iceland 2013: Water wonders and aurorae

Iceland 2013: Reykjavik and the Blue Lagoon

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