Construction of Northern Lights Research Station Begins

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Construction of Northern Lights Research Station Begins

By Zoë Robert
Northern lights in Biskupstungur, South Iceland

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Ground was broken at the site of the northern lights research station in Reykjadalur, Northeast Iceland, last week, according to a press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

As reported, research at the center will be carried out in conjunction with Icelandic research and academic institutions with the government-run Polar Research Institute of China PRIC sponsoring the project’s operations through an Icelandic non-profit organization.

In March, it was reported that the Chinese government paid ISK 300 million (USD 2.6 million, EUR 1.9 million) to extend the station. The 600-square-meter building, which will open in 2016, will include a visitor’s center.

The station will feature a specially-equipped camera that takes photographs of the northern lights and geomagnetism measurements. According to the scientists, the northern lights indicate the interplay with the solar winds and the earth’s magnetic field, meaning that the research findings can be used to predict space weather.

As Icelandic law forbids the purchase or lease of land by foreigners from outside the EEA, the Employment Development Society of Eyjafjörður and Þingeyjar and the Arctic Portal, based in Akureyri, North Iceland, purchased the land for the project.

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