Before you head out to hunt the rare Northern Lights in the dark, we highly recommend you a visit to Aurora Reykjavik, the Northern Lights exhibition, where you will gain plenty of knowledge about the Northern Lights' history, legends, myths and stories, and Northern Lights photography.
Moreover, interactive displays illustrate how Northern Lights come into being in the first place; a specially equipped photo booth will teach you how to adjust your camera's settings in case you'd like to try capturing the auroras yourself. What's more is there is a continuously running 25-minute HD film featuring stunning auroral displays seen over Iceland. Plus, the exhibition's friendly staff are always on hand when it comes to answering questions about the lights or about how to take photos of these.
In the souvenir shop, you are free to purchase high-quality handmade items by young and talented Icelandic designers, photographers and artists. So, if you always wanted to wear a shirt in the color and theme of the Northern Lights, you are free to purchase one in the gift shop.
Hunting the Aurora is quite tricky and thus not easy to experience at all due to Iceland's fast-changing weather conditions, which are therefore almost unpredictable. Your chances of seeing the Northern Lights depend on the current solar activity measured on a 9-point scale, which varies from almost no activity (0-2) and moderate activity (2-3) to solar storms (4-6) - which are very, very rare, though - to 7-9, which is like never gonna happen at all.
Moreover, a cloudless sky and extreme darkness are necessary to see the Northern Lights, which is why these can only be seen during long winter nights from October to April.
You've always wanted to know how exactly Northern Lights are produced and come into being, respectively? - Auroras are formed when the magnetosphere is disturbed by the solar wind; charged particles emitted from the sun penetrate the earth's magnetic shield and thus collide with molecules and atoms in the Earth's atmosphere; in this way, photons make up the aurora.
So, if you are not lucky at all and do not get a chance to see the Northern Lights first-hand, the Aurora Reykjavik Northern Lights Center is a great place to get an impression of this fascinating natural phenomenon.
How to get there
The Northern Lights Center Aurora Reykjavík is located in the middle of the Icelandic capital close to the harbor, from where whale watching tours are offered as well. The easiest way to get there is by public transport. The city buses stop directly at Grandagarður Street, where the Northern Lights Center is located.