Tis the Season for Northern Lights
The Inuit say if you whistle and rub your nails together, you can make them dance. The Japanese believe it’s good luck to make love beneath them. And in Iceland, under the right conditions, they’re so bright, you can read a newspaper under their glow. These are the Aurora Borealis, a common sight in Iceland during cold, crisp winter nights.
Just 15 minutes from the international airport is an appropriately named hotel, the Northern Light Inn, that last year attracted over 1,600 Japanese guests who came to see these ghost-like images in the sky.
Named after the Roman goddess of the dawn, Aurora, and the Greek name for north wind, Boreas, they often appear as a greenish glow on the northern horizon, as if the sun were rising from an unusual direction. The aurora borealis is also called the northern lights, as it is only visible in the North sky from the Northern Hemisphere.
When is the best time to see them? The Northern Light Inn suggests visiting September to mid-April. Venture outdoors under a clear, dark sky, preferably cold, but not too cold. Usually they appear after dinner, beginning around 9 p.m., and continue to dance past midnight, sometimes until breakfast. The Inn has posted a spectacular collection of 18 images to their Web site for all to enjoy (www.northernlightinn.is).