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Iceland Mag

Northern lights

Great Aurora forecast for tonight, Wednesday: Next couple of days look good too

By Staff

  • The Aurora over Kleifarvatn lake Kleifarvatn on the Reykjanes peninsula is popular among Aurora photographers. Photo/Maksym Ryshchenko

We spent last week hyping the amazing Aurora forecasts the Icelandic Meteorological Office and NASA were putting out, all of which turned out be somewhat disappointing. The category 7 magnetic storm which was supposed to generate a spectacular Aurora display first slowed down on its way from the Sun, arriving on Friday rather than Thursday as we had initially been promised, and then once it actually did arrive it only produced an average Aurora show.

Read more: Photos: Friday's spectacular Aurora a let-down, but still generated a magnificent show

Of course we should just look at last week as a reminder that you can never be certain when it comes to the Northern Lights, and that it's impossible to predict them with any certainty! That said: tonight we have again be promised a great forecast - and the rest of the week is looking very good!

Look to the sky tonight!

Aurora forecast 13.9.17

Aurora forecast Tonight is looking very promising! Photo/Icelandic Met Office

The Icelandic Meteorological Office is reporting an Aurora activity of 6, "very high". Tomorrow, Thursday the activity will be 5, "high" and on Friday 4, "active". The IMO explains that an activity of 2, "low" can be beautiful and an activity of 3 "moderate" can be dazzling. Level 4 and above can generate spectacular display.

But for a great Aurora show you need two things: An active Aurora and clear skies. Which makes tonight particularly promising. Clear skies over all of NW, W, SW, S and SE Iceland tonigh increase your chance of seeing thee Aurora once it starts. Thursday and Friday will be more cloudy, although the skies above the capital promise to be mostly clear on both days, at lest part of the evening.

Read more: Learn all about the Aurora on this new interactive website

According to IMO it will be dark from 20:49 (8:49 pm) to 5:59 (5:59 am). Sunset is at 20:00 (8:00 pm). With high Aurora activity you should have a pretty good chance of seeing the Aurora after dark tonight or early morning tomorrow.

Where to go?
If the skies are clear and the Aurora is active you can see the Northern Lights pretty much anywhere in Iceland, even in downtown Reykjavík. However, the light pollution means that the Northern Lights will be more vibrant outside the city. But you don't need to go up into the mountains to escape the light pollution. There are plenty of spots in the city or on its outskirts which offer great spots for Northern Lights viewing. 


Aurora forecast 13.9.17

The cloud cover at midnight Clear skies over most of Iceland. Photo/Icelandic Met Office

Read more: Aurora hunters cause traffic jam at Grótta lighthouse in Reykjavík

One of these is the picturesque Grótta island on the western tip of the Reykjavík peninsula. However, be adviced that this is also probably the most popular spot in Reykjavík, both among locals and foreign visitors. You might want to check out one of these other great spots a local Aurora photographer and friend of Iceland Magazine Snorri Þór Tryggvason has identifed - note that Snorri leaves Grótta out of the map!

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