The Northern Lights are back!

Last night Rob and I headed out to a friend’s birthday party. Being in Iceland, since the party started at 8:30, that’s when we started getting ready to leave. Don’t ask me why, but every party experience I’ve had here shows that guests don’t start arriving until at least an hour after the stated party start time. So, it was close to ten when we headed out the door. Very Icelandic.

I looked up, still excited about night skies, to see if any stars were out. Yes. But I had to look through a writhing band of green and purple to see them. We stood in our driveway staring up until the Northern Lights started to fade. At one point it doubled back on itself, making a donut of light.

At our house, we get a lot of light from houses and streetlamps, so this display must have been amazing outside of Reykjavík. In a perfect world, they would have come out the night before, when the city turned off all the public lights for half an hour as part of an astronomy exhibition. It seems clear that Murphy has an Icelandic cousin, because that lights-out night had thick cloud cover. Still, it’s impressive that a city would do that. In the US, if they turned out all the lights in a city, it would inspire looting. Here, everyone went outside and took walks, even if they couldn’t see the stars.

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6 thoughts on “The Northern Lights are back!”

  1. That’s why I love Iceland and Icelanders — for their commitment to aesthetic beauty and artistic experimentation. I have seen the Northern Lights once before (in Iceland) and I hope to see them again soon (in Iceland, Greenland, who knows?)

  2. That is what I like about Iceland and Icelanders, they have a commitment to aesthetic beauty and creative exploration. Cutting electricity for a night would be unthinkable in other parts of the world, but in Iceland they can do it, to experience an experience which is worth more than money — for example, the beauty of the night sky.
    I have seen the Northern Lights once before, in 2003 in Reykjavik. I am hoping to see the Northern Lights again soon — in Iceland, Greenland, another part of the globe, who knows?

  3. Right, although Rob was wishing they had cut the electricity so that people’s porch lights would be off. Everyone was supposed to turn out their house lights, but not everyone did.

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