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Northern Lights Review

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Northern Lights Review

Northern lights.

Photo: Páll Kjartansson.

The northern lights, which were awaited with anticipation last night, made a spectacular entry in the capital area at about 10:45 pm. In response to a favorable forecast from the Icelandic Met Office, predicting a very high activity of the aurora borealis last night, the City of Reykjavík and neighboring towns announced they would turn off the street lights between 10 and 11 pm to provide people a better view.

Tourists and residents alike flocked outside, most of them to the seashore, ready for the spectacle. One woman asked, “When does the show begin?” Unfortunately, she had to be told that although it would likely soon begin, there was no guarantee. The northern lights are neither punctual nor reliable. Instead, they step on stage when they want to. They don’t care when municipal authorities turn off the lights.

By 10:40 pm, many impatient spectators had left their seats, disappointed with Nature’s lack of cooperation. The resilient ones, however, were generously rewarded. At 10:45 pm, faint, white ribbons, which had been stretched across the sky, suddenly began moving in circles, then turning wider and bright green. Looking toward the ocean, new ribbons could be seen, forming across the sky. Before long, they, too, became energized and began a wild dance above the enthralled spectators. They danced in circles, changed shapes, and finally came collapsing down like a waterfall of many colors. There were lines of green, pink and red, adorning the sky.

It was an unforgettable show, well worth waiting for. City officials, relieved that the show was a success, adjusted their lighting plans and kept the street lights off until midnight.

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