Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag

Nature

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

By Staff

  • The Aurora over Vík Those who waited patiently and/or chanced to pick the right spots were treated to a beautiful Aurora on Friday. Photo/Þórir Kjartansson

The first major sun storm hit the Earth last week, creating ideal conditions for spectacular Aurora. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a "Strong Geomagnetic Storm Watch", predicting a level 7 activity in the Northern Hemisphere. The storm was first expected to wash over the Earth on Thursday but turned out to be most powerful on Friday. The last time a magnetic storm of this magnitude washed over the earth was in May.

The intensity of the storm was caused by a Coronal Mass Ejections, a violent events where the sun ejects a part of its outer atmosphere into space. It takes the CME several days to reach the earth, but when it does the charged particles are caught in the Earth's magnetic field which pulls them down into the upper layers of the Earth's atmosphere near the poles. Interactions between these particles and the particles in the upper reaches of the atmosphere. These interactions release energy which can be seen as as visible light.

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

What made Icelanders especially excited was the fact that clear skies were expected over South, West and South-West Iceland on Friday.

Many of the countless locals and visitors who spent the night outside searching for the Northern Lights were sorely disappointed. The "spectacular" show we had been promised failed to materialize. Some were heard cursing and complaining, even though it was a beautiful night and the starry sky beautiful.

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

Of course one should never place too much faith in the Aurora forecast: It is impossible to predict the Aurora with any accuracy!

But patience (almost) always pays off - and luck always helps! Those who stuck around or had managed to pick the right spot to wait for the Aurora were awarded with great displays. We at Iceland Magazine collected some of the best posts of the Aurora from around the web!

First this photo taken at Kleifarvatn lake on Reykjanes peninsula. 

A great series of photos taken by Elliðaárvatn lake on the eastern outskirts of Reykjavík:

A series of photos taken in the town of Akranes in West Iceland

The same photographer, Snow Nguyen, who lives in Akranes, shot this great video of the Aurora over Akranes on Thursday:

Finally a couple of photos taken at Ólafsfjarðarmúli mountain in Eyjafjörður fjord in North Iceland on Thursday

 

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