I Met the World-Famous Aurora Borealis Apkmusk

People, the northern lights or aurora borealis season has started.

P. S. – You can find the best tip for watching the northern lights at the end of this article!

I first encountered the aurora on the Elding Northern Lights Cruise. It was 7 September. My friend from Denmark and I decided that day, that we were going to see the northern lights. It would be the first time for both of us. And so it happened. The boat left the port in Reykjavik and we “hid” from the light pollution behind two small nearby islands after a 40-minute cruise. There were big coveralls on the boat. It was really cold. I put on a pair of coveralls (see the photo) and I could barely move, but I still made myself comfortable. The engine ceased and they turned on the music.


We watched the sky from the sea for an hour. I moved away from the group and went to the prow, where I lay down (why should I strain my neck if I can lie and relax, all the while being warm in my pair of coveralls and a jacket). I enjoyed the boat that was rocking on the gentle waves, the nice music, the quiet and the view of the night sky, hoping the clouds would dissipate a bit, so I could see the northern sky. And even if I didn’t, I still made sure the whole experience was magical. But there it was, it peeked out just a little. The aurora showed itself to me shyly and winked at me from above the clouds. My heart was filled with a child’s playfulness and laughter. When I got back to the group and my friend, I suddenly started dancing, and the guide said: “That’s the spirit, even if there is not much lights going on.”

Since it was cloudier than they anticipated, we were given tickets for a free tour once we were finished and those tickets were valid for up to two years.

The aurora winked at me a few more times

Once, when I was at a friend’s Holmur farm in the south (near Höfn) (the photo of the house). Kp 2, full moon, direction north, 30 minutes. And the second time it was when I moved to Borgarnes (Kp 2–3, direction north, 30 minutes outside). The lady finally stopped being shy on 10 November (Kp 2–4, two hours outside, direction north-west).

It was the day I remained speechless. I jumped so high in the air, I could almost touch it. My hands almost froze because I forgot to put on gloves due to all the excitement. The hearty laugh could be heard all around the hotel, as I wasn’t the only one. I spent two hours with two guys from Portugal and, even though we barely knew each other, we started hugging and jumping for joy, and we knew it would be a memory that would remain with us forever. The lights intensified by the minute and spread across the sky more and more. They started out in the north. And then they reached from the west to the east and encompassed the north as well.

The lights flew by me really fast in Reykjavik on 15 October when I, together with Hearts in the Ice and Global Choices, was finishing off the day at the Arctic Circle Conference in the evening.

And the aurora was literally laid bare for me to see…

On 10 October when the Kp index rose from 2 to 7. I looked at the forecast and, yes, strong solar storms were detected. There were even chances of seeing the lights in northern Germany that day. I was on my way from a trip, going to the Glymur waterfall. My intuition told me I shouldn’t go back the usual way, but rather turn towards the mountain pass. I was grateful for my intuition and the fact that I listened to it.


I was alone. In the middle of the mountains in Iceland. There was no one around. The last place was a 25-minute drive in the direction I came from, and the next one was 20 minutes ahead. The best thing of all was there wasn’t even a shred of light pollution. I stopped the car. I got outside. I opened my mouth and just stared at the sky. The stars. The Milky Way and the northern lights just starting to reveal themselves in the north. After an hour of the meditation that was the starry sky, I drove off. I stopped closer to civilisation and the aurora was gaining strength. I stopped again (8:30 p.m., the photo “along the way”). “Aha! There’s gonna be a party in the sky tonight!” And I wasn’t wrong. I drove to Borgarnes. I put on the warmest clothes and I knew I would spend half of the night outside.

The party stared around 9 p.m. and, as befits a true aurora, it really started off from 10 p.m. onwards. My sighs, exhalations, my “wows, ohhhs, ooohs”, my loud laughter, my exhilaration and screams of joy were the music. And the one dancing was the aurora. It danced across the entire sky! Just look at the photos and you’ll get it!

What even are the northern lights, this breath-taking dance of the visible light in the sky?

Aurora is listed as one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Science says aurora borealis is the result of geomagnetic storms caused by solar winds that occur as a light display when charged particles, which travel from the Sun, react to the atoms in Earth’s atmosphere. Sprinkled with some chemistry and science (don’t skip that part, it’s not that scary).



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