Iceland is one of the world’s prime spots to see the aurora borealis. Here’s a quick guide to one of the world’s most dazzling natural performances.
1. The Northern Lights often appear to shoot out of mountains like lava from a volcano, but that it’s merely an optical illusion. The closest that the Northern Lights ever come to Earth is 80 kilometers above the Earth's surface. In comparison, a plane flies about 10 kilometers above the surface.
2. Auroras are relatively dim, and the redder lights often marks the limit of what the human retina can detect. Cameras, however, are often more sensitive, and with a long-exposure setting and a clear dark sky, viewers can get some spectacular shots.
3. The Vikings believed the fiery ring was a bridge to the afterlife.
4. You have to look north to see the Northern lights. (Doh!) Make sure you know which direction is north. The Aurora is quite unpredictable and can be fleeting. When the sky is dim, it can look like a wispy gray or white cloud so be careful not to miss it.
5. The floor-to-ceiling windows at Minarc’s Ion Adventure Hotel are designed for optimal aurora borealis viewing.