Northern Lights Iceland;
Northern Lights Iceland luxury yacht trip from Reykjavik
Forecast 40% cloud cover 2/9 KP index
Success! Sea Trips Reykjavik found the Northern Lights tonight from Reykjavik.
The skies were clear on this beautiful, though very cold evening, and as we left Reykjavik old harbour from our top viewing deck we could see firework displays going off across the city. We made sure everyone had fully explored the yacht, Amelia Rose was built as a superyacht in Mexico in 2003 and so even the insides of cupboard have hand carved wood. It really is a luxury yacht!
Whilst we made our way out past the islands that guard the Reykjavik harbours everyone stayed cosy and warm in our luxurious lounges, or up in the wheelhouse, where lucky people got to have a seat in the captain’s chair! They whole time we keep an eye not just on the local weather forecasts and systems but on information we get straight from NASA, things like an increase in the solar wind speed and density indicate that we should be seeing the northern lights appear soon.
Once the captain had found us a great position, sheltered from the wind so the yacht sat still and it wasn‘t so cold, but with great views of the skies, we started to look in earnest. We were out there for well over an hour before we started to see the northern lights. To pass the time we looked at the star constellations and named them, and talked about the science behind the aurora, but also the myths and legends that surround it.
Finally the northern lights appeared, although at first we could only see them through our cameras, but then they started to brighten into a big green arc to the north, coming out from behind Mount Esja. The arc faded in, then faded out a couple of times, which is completely normal, and rather beautiful, but sadly as the aurora brightened again the thin cloud started to thicken stopping the lights from being seen to their full advantage.
So whilst we saw them, and they must have been extremely bright to show through the cloud, it wasn’t exactly what we hoped for. Because of this we gave our customers a free ticket to be used in the next three years, we really want to show people the natural wonder that is the aurora borealis, and we are so lucky that we live in a place where we see it so often.
We also take the luxury yacht Amelia Rose out whale watching during the daytime. If you have already bought a ticket to see the northern lights with us you can come out whale watching for half price. The most common species of whale we see are minke whales, humpback whales, white beaked dolphins and porpoises, though we never really know what we will see, and in the last few months we’ve had basking sharks, pilot whales, killer whales (orca) and even blue whales!
Sea Trips sail daily from Reykjavik Old harbour, Iceland. Our yacht Amelia Rose was built as a super yacht in 2003 and as such she is extremely stable, however if you feel you need them we always have motion sickness tablets for free at the bar, just ask our friendly crew. We recommend you dress warmly as it is always colder at sea than on land however we also have ponchos and blankets available around the boat for your use.
Please call us if you have any questions about the facilities on board our ships.
What are the Northern Lights?
Sten Odenwald, author of The 23rd Cycle: learning to live with a stormy star (New York, Columbia University Press, c2001), explains it thus;
“The origin of the aurora begins on the surface of the sun when solar activity ejects a cloud of gas. Scientists call this a coronal mass ejection (CME). If one of these reaches earth, taking about 2 to 3 days, it collides with the Earth’s magnetic field. This field is invisible, and if you could see its shape, it would make Earth look like a comet with a long magnetic ‘tail’ stretching a million miles behind Earth in the opposite direction of the sun.
When a coronal mass ejection collides with the magnetic field, it causes complex changes to happen to the magnetic tail region. These changes generate currents of charged particles, which then flow along lines of magnetic force into the Polar Regions. These particles are boosted in energy in Earth’s upper atmosphere, and when they collide with oxygen and nitrogen atoms, they produce dazzling auroral light.“
If you are interested in learning more we recommend these websites, https://www.spaceweatherlive.com/ and http://www.aurora-service.eu/ They have a lot of extra learning materials as well as real time satellite information.