Northern Lights Just One Reason To Visit Iceland

Northern Lights

The northern lights are a natural light display that occurs in the high latitude regions of our planet. Alaska is one of the best places to see the northern lights, especially in September and March when skies are dark and temperatures mild for comfortable viewing. Iceland is also a good place to view the display and offers some unique advantages.

One of several astronomical phenomena called “polar lights” (aurora polaris), northern lights, (Aurora Borealis) are caused by the collision of energetic charged particles with atoms in the high altitude atmosphere. Iceland is located directly under the main concentration of the northern lights annulus, the so-called Great Belt, an oval cosmic light that goes around earth off-axis.northern lightsIn Iceland, located midway between Europe and North America, and with direct flight routes from both continents, northern lights can be viewed from October through March in a number of ways.

Self-drive tours, winter Jeep expeditions and organized group excursions are popular and offered by a variety of tour operators.

But northern lights are a natural phenomenon and sightings can never be guaranteed, so having a backup plan when visiting is a good idea. Actually, for many travelers, the backup plan is their main focus and viewing the northern lights is icing on the cake.

The Golden Circle is a popular tourist route in south Iceland, looping from Reykjavík into central Iceland and back over about 300 kilometers.

Stops on the route, any one alone worth a visit, include Þingvellir national park, the Gullfoss waterfall, and the geothermally active valley of Haukadalur as well as the Kerið volcano crater/lake, Hveragerði greenhouse village, Skálholt church, and the Nesjavellir geothermal power plant.

Can’t make it to Alaska or Iceland? NorthernLightsIceland.com has a webcam set up and will broadcast the northern lights live when they happen. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter then watch for a post or tweet when their UStream feed is active.

In this time-lapse video we see a number of attractions in Iceland from Iceland Explorer Travel Guide that also has an iPhone app for exploring.


[Flickr photos by Gunnsi]

Video: cosmic time-lapse, ‘Temporal Distortion’

Temporal Distortion” from Randy Halverson on Vimeo.

If you’re in the mood for taking a beautiful, cosmic, time-lapse break, consider this your opportunity. The gorgeous time-lapse images that make up this short film (which is part of a 23 minute expanded version) feature the Milky Way, Aurora, and plenty of other Earthly delights. An original score by renowned composer Bear McCreary accompanies this piece. McCreary has scored “Battlestar Galactica” and “The Walking Dead,” among others. We’ve featured other time-lapse work from Randy Halverson. If you like this video, be sure to check out his Milky Way time-lapse as well as his South Dakota winter time-lapse.

What is the Milky Way?

Gorgeous time lapse of Australia’s “Southern Lights”

It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to see the Northern Lights, that glorious display of eerie green “smoke” that appears to float above the nighttime sky of some of the furthest northern reaches of our globe. But now I have another sight to add to that list: the Southern Lights. Also know as “Aurora Australis”, it’s the southern hemisphere equivalent of the auroras that occur up north, captured in stunning time-lapse fashion near Melbourne, Australia by photographer Alex Cherney. Give the video above a click and watch as the Milky Way gracefully dances across the southern sky, punctuated by the mesmerizing warm pulses of pink, yellow and orange.

Stunning northern lights display shown to vast audience




In a rare natural phenomena, star-gazers in locations as “normal” as Michigan were able to witness auroras, otherwise known as the northern lights, on Monday evening, October 24. Caused by a sun storm this past Saturday, these green and red lights took two days to reach earth.
These were the most vibrant I’ve ever seen,” Canadian skywatcher Colin Chatfield of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan told SPACE.com. “I was also able to see red with the naked eye, which I’ve never seen before either. Simply put, they were amazing.”

The photos in the gallery below illustrate what just might be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If you want to see auroras regularly, you’ll have to head to the Northern Lights zone–latitudes 65 to 72 degrees–solar particles collide with atmospheric gases to create colorful curtains (near the South Pole, Aurora Australis are the Southern Lights).

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Check out this article on the ten best places to catch the Northern Lights.

Video: Tromso, Norway

Tromsø from Dave Pinke on Vimeo.

Anyone can go to Tromso, Norway. Anyone can go anywhere, actually–that’s what I like the most about travel. There aren’t restrictions. Get up and go if you want to go. Take pictures and make videos documenting the things you see and experiences that will, undoubtedly, mold you. That’s what Dave Pinke has done. Dave Pinke is a traveler, video-taker, all-around cool guy from New York. He’s spent much of his time over the last few years gallivanting across the globe and putting together splendid little videos in honor of the places he visits. Complete with fun clips and appropriate music, his travel videos are some of my favorite. They dive deep into his personal experiences and by the end of each video, I feel like I’ve walked in his footsteps.

Check out his video above from his trip to Tromso, Norway. His video offers some general glimpses of Tromso. Endless snow, Northern Lights, Lego creations, and plenty of food shots make this video whole. When you’re done enjoying this video, take a look at this other video we published earlier this year featuring the Northern Lights in Tromso specifically here.

Learn about the Northern Lights