The Day I Saw the Aurora Borealis 


There was a rumor around the hostel, “Tuesday will be the day for the northern lights!” I carefully watched the aurora forecast to see if that was true. I came to Iceland again, despite the cold weather, for two reasons: enjoying the hot pools and catching the northern lights. The latter one was the biggest dream for my entire life ever since I got to know what astronomy was. After I landed in Reykjavik on 10th, spent a few days without any big news but I patiently waited. I knew this was the closest chance I’ve ever gotten, but I didn’t want to be disappointed too big at the end. After all, we humans can’t fight the mother nature.


On Tuesday afternoon, we drove through rain and wind in southwest Iceland. The forecast said the northern lights would be active tonight but the weather wasn’t ideal. To catch the northern lights, three conditions have to be perfect: crispy and cold winter sky, clear and calm weather, and active solar wind. Solar wind was out there already, it was a cold winter night alright, but weather was the question.


At night, the sky was getting clear. We decided to drove a car outside of Reykjavik. Only a few minutes after, I saw a smudge in the sky. ‘Clouds?’ It was crossing the entire sky while dancing and moving around. It was definitely not a cloud, it was the northern lights! Among the bright city lights, the nature’s wonder didn’t quiet it down.


I sticked my head out to the window, screaming and wowing the whole time. We found a dark-enough spot to pull over. I ran out from the car, set my camera down on the ground (because I didn’t have a tripod) and fixed my eye to the most amazing nature show I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t believe.


I’m watching the northern lights!


When all of my friends decorated their bedroom wall with the poster of pop stars, my room was filled with photos of solar system, galaxies, deep space and aurora (northern lights). Yes, I was a nerdy kid. Catching the aurora was the biggest astronomical dream I’ve ever had ever since, and it finally happened this week. I watched the northern lights!


It was green and purple in the photos, but it actually looked like unnatural clouds. The movement was fascinating. The ones above our head were the most dramatic. Because we were looking at the vertical side of this magnetic field, it was thick and active. It felt like I was looking at a shower head when the water was on. The lights came and disappeared quite quickly. If we were at a darker place, we would’ve see much dramatic view but it was good enough for all of us. For one night, we saw the classic movement of the northern lights, at least for me. It looked just like the poster photos I had. Squirmy near the horizon, curtain shape, making shapes around the constellations… It was dreamy. Nature is wonderful. I may come back to Iceland every winter.

Wouldn’t you?

Aurora Borealis in Iceland (Northern lights)

Aurora Borealis in Iceland near horizon (Northern lights)

Aurora Borealis in Iceland (Northern lights)

Aurora Borealis in Iceland (Northern lights)

Aurora Borealis in Iceland (Northern lights)

Aurora Borealis in Iceland (Northern lights)

Aurora Borealis near the north pole (Northern lights)

Aurora Borealis in Iceland (Northern lights)

Aurora Borealis in Iceland (Northern lights)

Aurora Borealis in Iceland (Northern lights)

Aurora Borealis in Iceland (Northern lights)

Aurora Borealis in Iceland (Northern lights)

Aurora Borealis in Iceland (Northern lights)

Enjoying Northern Lights in Iceland

Aurora Borealis in Iceland (Northern lights)

41 thoughts on “Runaway Photo: The Day I Saw the Northern Lights”

  1. great! I guess I’ve seen this once while I was on a plane, but I’m not sure. I can imagine it is fascinating to see what some charges and a magnetic field are capable of. (that was real “wiseness” 🙂 )

  2. Juno, this looks absolutely stunning! You’re so lucky to have caught the lights. I was doing a bit of reading on where to go to see them, and basically everything said that they’re unpredictable and that there’s never any guarantee of a sighting. I’m glad your dream came true 🙂

  3. You made me dream so much with these photos and post! Me and my mom saw the pics and decided are going to Iceland by the end of the winter. Will book the trip shortly.
    And if you decide to go back every winter (which could be my case too!) well we can always go together next time! Me and you under northern lights… can you imagine? 🙂

    1. So glad to hear that you are going to Iceland! You’ll love it. 🙂 Make sure to stay it at least a week, to catch the opportunity! We can meet in Iceland every winter, that would be cool, right? 🙂

  4. Wow this looks so unreal! Must be such a sublime feeling to watch something this amazing with you own eyes – so glad you got your chance! Awesome pictures!

  5. Wow, looks amazing!

    I was in Iceland in March earlier this year, hoping to catch the lights – but the weather never cooperated! Someday, though, I’ll see them too and be just as wowed as you were!

  6. Amazing photos, Juno! The Northern Lights are so special and beautiful – can’t wait to get there one day (although I hear the weather and timing can be a real pest!). It’s great to read about a dream realised – I wish you many more to come!

  7. Absolutely AMAZING! I love the last photo! I went to Iceland this June and while I loved loved loved being there in the summer and enjoying the nice weather, I know I have to go back someday to see this beautiful show nature puts on. So glad you got such a beautiful night and could share it here with us!

  8. Susan From Travel Universally

    wow, it’s so so so magnificent. Watching Aurora, is my one of the dreams and Still I haven’t get the chance for it. By the way Congrats Juno!

  9. These photos are awesome! I hope I’m able to catch a glimpse of the lights when I visit Iceland next year. Did you go on a tour organised through your hostel?

  10. Such amazing photos! I had planned on heading up to Iceland this year to see the light as they say it would be one of the best times in many years to see them, but I couldn’t get time off. Maybe next year

  11. Oh my God, I am SO jealous!!! I spent a week in Iceland hoping everyday to see the Aurora but it never happened. I think they said the weather was just a bit too warm (even though it was the right season for aurora). I was so bummed. I still really hope to see this amazing phenomenon one day though!

  12. Ahhh so jealous! Seeing the Northern Lights is one of my biggest dreams… I was also one of those nerdy kids who obsessed over anything celestial. 🙂 Your pictures are gorgeous!

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