You have all seen photos of Northern lights. But do you know what they are? Or why they appear in the sky?

Let’s start with what they are.

The Northern lights are also called Aurora Borealis. They happen when solar winds interact with the earth’s magnetic field. That is when electrically charged particles from the sun enter the earth’s atmosphere. What might be strange to think about is that they seem so close to earth but occur in fact between 80 kilometers (50 miles) and 640 kilometers (400 miles) above the surface of the earth.  

Where do they appear?

These lively and colorful lights in the sky appear predominantly in high latitudes both close to the north and south pole. But since this phenomenon depends on solar activity, it is highly unpredictable. That is why the best advice for those looking to see the northern lights is to go out in night time when the sky is clear, find a place with little light pollution and hope for the best. At the very least you will have a wonderful time looking at stars and enjoying the moment. But remember to dress for the cold. The experience is so much better if your toes and fingers are not freezing.

For those of you looking to see the Northern lights in Iceland, you can join us on our Northern lights tour where we take you to the most photogenic places to witness the display. Or if you are looking to search for them on your own or if you are located in another country check out the Aurora forecast.