Some frequently Asked questions
What are the Northern Lights?
Have you seen them?
What time should you set your alarm?
Generally, they do not occur on the hour exactly. It would be best to set your alarm at intervals such as 17 minutes past the hour, every dark hour of the night.
Will you see them before you leave Iceland?
You can easily find out by running the chance generator.
Is it worth it to stay awake the whole night?
If you are driving around Iceland, completing the ring road for example, you may be required to have energy for many hours of focus the following day. It is not advisable to have an all-nighter in this case.
Some people manage quite successfully to stay awake the whole night to see the northern lights, but in most cases are fuelled by alcohol and/or cake.
You might want to find out where the nearest vin budin or bar is located before scheduling a late night.
You should also consider the cold environment that you are in before staying awake. Be sure to have a warm enclosed space available, such as a car.
Should you drive out of town to see the northern lights?
Yes, you probably should. There are many good northern lights hotspots in each town. Usually approximately half-way up surrounding mountains, (though locals will deny or withhold this information).
It is also advisable to have a skateboard or roller blades.
How long do the northern lights go for?
They are actually ‘going’ constantly, you just need to be in the correct place to see them.
What settings should my camera be on?
The northern lights are historically reluctant to be documented. The magnetic field which they reside in has been one of the least photographed domains in earth, based on a complicated misunderstanding of the light spectrum and the convection of ultra violet waves under negative magnetic forces.
Camera manufacturers are now acknowledging this in their design.
It is best to use long exposure
or the latest iPhone.
You can use the top of your car as a tripod.
There are also practicing stations available at the Northern Lights Centre, Reykjavik where you can test your camera’s settings in a controlled environment.
Can you be woken up when the northern lights are occurring?
Yes. You can set a programmed alarm here.