Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag

Northern lights

Great Aurora forecast for West and South West Iceland tonight, Thursday

By Staff

  • Aurora over Grótta You don't need to leave Reykjavík to catch an amazing Aurora. Photo/Maksym Gryshchenko

While South East and East Iceland are being pummled by the flooding of the severe Autumn storm, turned natural catastrophe, South West and West Iceland have been enjoying the best Iceland has to offer in the fall. Warm weather (at least by Icelandic standards!) and clear skies make for the ideal weather to go hiking or sightseeing. The only thing we were missing was high Aurora activity.

And what do you know: the "gods of weather" (an old Icelandic phrase) have decided they will smile upon the South-West corner, even as they continue to pour punishment upon the South East. Tonight, Thursday, we are treated to one of the best Northern Lights forecast so far this autumn.

Read more:Photos: Friday's spectacular Aurora a let-down, but still generated a magnificent show

Of course a good forecast is no guarantee we will actually get to see nature's most magnificient show, since the Northern Lights are not just pretty, they are also extremely fickle, which means it's nearly impossible to predict them with any certainty! 

Look to the sky tonight!

Aurora forecast 28.9.17
Aurora forecast Tonight is looking very promising! Photo/Icelandic Met Office

The Icelandic Meteorological Office is reporting an Aurora activity of 5, "high". The IMO explains that an activity of 2, "low" can be beautiful and an activity of 3 "moderate" can be dazzling. Level 4 and above can generate spectacular display.

But for a great Aurora show you need two things: An active Aurora and clear skies. Which makes tonight particularly promising. Clear skies over all of the capital region and South West, West and much of North and South Iceland tonigh increase your chance of seeing thee Aurora once it starts. Thursday and Friday will be more cloudy, although the skies above the capital promise to be mostly clear on both days, at lest part of the evening.

Read more: Learn all about the Aurora on this new interactive website

According to IMO it will be dark from 19:54 (7:54 pm) to 6:44 (6:44 am). Sunset is at 19:07 (7:07 pm). With high Aurora activity you should have a pretty good chance of seeing the Aurora after dark tonight or early morning tomorrow.

Where to go?
If the skies are clear and the Aurora is active you can see the Northern Lights pretty much anywhere in Iceland, even in downtown Reykjavík. However, the light pollution means that the Northern Lights will be more vibrant outside the city. But you don't need to go up into the mountains to escape the light pollution. There are plenty of spots in the city or on its outskirts which offer great spots for Northern Lights viewing. 

Aurora forecast 28.9.17
The cloud cover at midnight Clear skies over most of Iceland. Photo/Icelandic Met Office

Read more: Aurora hunters cause traffic jam at Grótta lighthouse in Reykjavík

One of these is the picturesque Grótta island on the western tip of the Reykjavík peninsula. However, be adviced that this is also probably the most popular spot in Reykjavík, both among locals and foreign visitors. You might want to check out one of these other great spots a local Aurora photographer and friend of Iceland Magazine Snorri Þór Tryggvason has identifed - note that Snorri leaves Grótta out of the map!

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