The bright dancing lights of the Northern lights are actually collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earth’s atmosphere. The lights are seen above the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres. They are known as ‘Aurora borealis’ named so after the Roman Goddess of the dawn and the Greek word for northern wind in the north and ‘Aurora australis’ in the southern hemisphere.
Auroral displays appear in many colors although pale green is the most common. Shades of red, yellow, green, blue, and violet have all been reported. The lights appear in many forms from patches or scattered clouds of light to streamers, arcs, rippling curtains, huge waves or shooting rays that light up the sky with an fantastic glow.
The Northern lights are highly unpredictable. Weather, Solar activity, light pollution, Cloud cover are all things to consider when trying to see them. Northern lights can only be seen at night because their light is not as strong as the light of day and faint stars can even be seen through the aurora. However, they can also happen during the day. This means that Northern Lights can not be seen in Iceland during peak summer as it simply doesn’t get dark enough. The period from September until April is the best for northern light gazing.