Wispy green apparitions dance through the night like the souls of lost Vikings, lost at sea, seeking their ancient Icelandic homeland.
Once a village of turf huts and scruffy seafarers, Reykjavik has become an international destination for finance and tourism, even during its frigid arctic winter.
Drawn by a rugged natural beauty and fabled Northern Lights, visitors explore the Arctic countryside via horse, sled, snowmobile, car, truck, super jeep, and even “monster trucks” for a glimpse of Aurora borealis, or “Dawn of the North”.
In Roman mythology, Aurora, the goddess of the dawn crossed the night sky, leaving trails of color in her wake, announcing the morning sun.
Science offers a differing explanation. The auroras appear as the sun’s electrically charged particles collide with the earth’s atmosphere, creating the colorful auroral spectacle.
Auroras are visible in the northern and southern hemisphere especially during the winter months, when skies are clear and nights longer.
The Icelandic Meteorological Office forecasts the auroras strength. The night the below photos were taken – one of the only clear nights during a recent 8-day trip to Iceland – the forecast was a 2 out of 9.
They’re a definite tease and a fierce motivation to return as soon as the Viking winds blow me back.
(As always, click on the image below to view full size.)