Northern lights better known as the Aurora Borealis can be seen in hand full of different countries in the world. Those countries include Iceland (of course),Greenland, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Russia, Northern Canada and in the US state of Alaska. Basically all of the counties based on the top part of the globe, or the Northern Hemisphere.
In this blog we will give you all of the details as of what causes the exquisite mystical lights and why they are mostly seen in these countries. We will discuss their myths and as a bonus we will also be sharing Iceland’s most famous lullaby and we will even translate the lyrics to the eerie yet breathtakingly beautiful song. The song was originally created for a play in 1911.
What causes the Northern Lights?
What causes the Northern Lights you ask? In short, our sun! The longer winded version causes for a lot of science talk. The Northern Lights are actually the result of collisions between gaseous particles in the Earth’s atmosphere with charged particles, electrons and protons, released from the sun’s atmosphere.
Thankfully there is a more understandable version of what causes the Northern Lights. Basically, our sun has solar storms that causes flaming plasma to be blown towards Earth. The Earth is protected by a magnetic iron sphere which blocks these solar storms and causes them to bounce back into space. Our magnetic sphere also known as the magnetic field is shaped like an infinity sign (or a parallel figure eight) which travels through the middle of the globe. Sometimes the magnetic field bounces the solar storms towards the two poles of the Earth, the North and South poles. The polar opposite poles are the weakest points of the magnetic field. It is here where small amounts of the sun’s plasma particles reach the Earth´s atmosphere.
Once the plasma reaches our Earths atmosphere the plasma particles collide with gas particles. These collisions emit light that we perceive as the dancing lights of the north (and the south). Different gas particles are found a various depths within the Earth´s atmosphere, and these gases will emit different colours of light when their particles are excited (interacting with the sun´s plasma). The most popular, and most frequently seen, are green Northern Lights, which are caused by the abundance of oxygen particles in the atmosphere.
Due to contrary beliefs, the Northern Lights do not just happen during the winter and at night. The Northern Lights can be happening at all times of the day; only you cannot see them due to daylight.
Unfortunately, the Northern Lights are almost impossible to predict there for no one can promise you that you will experience them during your stay in Iceland. Which is why we recommend a few days stay while hunting for the Northern Lights as Iceland is know for its constantly changing weather. The Northern light can not be seen while it is raining.
Getting married under the Northern Lights
We get a lot of inquires about getting married under neath the Northern Lights. Unfortunately the chances of you saying “I do” under the Northern Lights are very slim. Here are the following reasons.
- The predictability of the lights can only be estimated a few days before they are due to arrive. Even then there is not a 100% chance seeing as we can not predict how our magnetic field will react to the solar storms.
- You would need to have make sure every one involved (i.e celebrant, Iceland wedding photographer, guests) are ready to be “on call” when the lights do show up.
- On the same note as above, seeing as the Northern Lights are only at night any where from 8pm to 5am this can result in up charges from Iceland Wedding vendors and upset guests (because of the unpredictability factor).
- Capturing images of the Northern Lights can be quite tricky, depending on the skill set of your Iceland Wedding Photographer. In order to capture the lights one would require a tripod and / or shinning a quick light on the subject during a longer exposure. Some photographers even cheat and add the Northern Lights in post processing. Make sure your Iceland Wedding Photographer is capable of getting the look and style you seek.
If you dream of having the Northern Lights during your Iceland Wedding or Iceland Elopement we would advice you to not plan around the lights. Rather, stay a few days longer with only your Iceland Wedding Photographer on call. Who knows.. They might even grace you with their presence during your Iceland Wedding Reception.
Tips for the Best Chances to See Northern Lights
In order to see the Northern Lights in all their glory there are a few guidelines on should follow.Ca
1. The Northern Light season starts in mid September and can be seen til until early April.
2. We recommend driving away from all light pollution, such as cities, towns, and street lights.
3. Before going on an adventurous hunt for the Northern Lights we recommend checking the weather forecast. In order to see the Northern Lights there needs to be little to no clouds. We usually use the following websites for Iceland. Belgingur.is and Vedur.is
4. Dress accordingly. Icelandic winter nights are quite cold, especially after a long day exploring our beautiful country.
5.We highly recommend bringing a thermos with hot chocolate and a blanket to snuggle under. How romantic right?
As promised, HERE you can listen to Iceland’s famous lullaby. Followed by the translation:
Sleep, my young love.
Outside the rain is weeping.
Mummy is watching over your treasure,
an old bone and a round case.
We should not stay awake through dim nights.
There is much that darkness knows,
my mind is heavy.
Often I saw black sand
burning the green meadow.
In the glacier cracks are rumbling deep as death.
Sleep for a long time, sleep quietly,
it is best to wake up late.
Sorrow will teach you soon,
while the day is quickly decaying,
that men love, lose, cry and mourn.
Translation by Marc Moreau
Would you like to plan your Iceland Wedding or Iceland Elopement with us in hopes to see the Northern Lights? We can not promise you that you will see them but we can promise you a very memorable adventurous experience. Contact US now and we can start planning today!