Icelandic lights

By Phil Plait | October 17, 2012 1:10 pm

Jean-Luc Dauvergne is a journalist for the French-language astronomy magazine Ciel et Espace (Sky and Space). In September he was in Iceland for a stunning display of aurorae, and the pictures he took of it were, well, stunning:

Ye. Gads. [Click to reykjavikenate.]

You can see the Big Dipper on the right, and Arcturus right near the horizon, if you can tear your eyes away from that unbelievable phenomenon. He was in Jökulsárlón when he took this – he tells me that’s Icelandic for "glacial river lagoon". I’d buy that.

He also took a cool shot of an airplane wreck from the 1970s with the Pleiades and Taurus hanging in the sky through the aurorae too. It’s part of a real-time and time lapse video he did showing off the natural wonders of Iceland:

It took me a second, but then I recognized the song: it’s by Björk! Well played, Jean-Luc.

I swear, I write so much about that island that the Iceland tourism board should pay for me to visit. Not that I’m suggesting that*.

* I am totally suggesting that.

Image credit: Jean-Luc Dauvergne

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Pretty pictures

Comments (17)

  1. Damnable Internets! Always you speak of Iceland, filling me with the desire to return!

    I was there in 2007 in the summer, it was gorgeous. But being summer, there were no Aurora to be seen. Even so, Jökulsárlón was stunning in the daylight too, watching mini icebergs melt as they entered the saltwater, with the most brilliant turquoise ice.

    But now I must go in the fall/winter, at night. That and I’m practically booking my trip to Yellowknife in some November.

  2. Chris A.

    Aw, Phil! I thought your coined-replacement-word-for-embiggen for this post was going to be “eyjafjallajokullenate!” :(

  3. Martin

    Once I was camping at Lake Myvatn in the north of Iceland. Late August/early September. That evening there was a sudden burst of activity in the campsite. Looked out and saw a green veil of aurora. Nothing like that great picture. So I went back for a weekend break in January 1991. They were very nervous at Heathrow airport that evening. The last three flights were one to Iceland and two to Tel Aviv and the previous day the bombing of Baghdad had started. One hour into the flight the Captain came on to give the usual announcements, ending up that at 6pm that evening the volcano Hekla started to erupt. There was a great photo in the paper with the white of falling snow, the green of the aurora and the red of the fresh lava.

  4. Stunning photography and time lapse there. Cheers! :-)

    But .. Hmm … Scenery looks familiar – isn’t that the opening for the Prometheus movie? As seen here in a different season :

    (Mild spoiler warning for anyone whohasn’t already seen it.)

    with some interesting comments including my (#70 StevoR) take on it here :

    The Engineers cut! 😉

    Which btw was inspired by another reviewers review – Cleolinda Jones to be precise – linked to my name. (TOTAL SPOILERS there!)

  5. Kevin M

    I’m getting used to seeing beautiful stuff on BA, but this one is just stupid beautiful.

    Earth! A pretty nice planet.

  6. Ben

    This is so gorgeous. I love the northern lights.

  7. Tensor

    Sigh. Of all the places I was assigned during my time in the military, I miss Iceland the most. I have training in Geology. I’ve had an interest in Astronomy since I was a kid. That place is perfect. Friends and coworkers thought I was nuts when I volunteered to go back, twice. They simply didn’t understand. It’s time to book another trip…..

  8. JB of Brisbane

    I thought a DC-3 only had seven windows each side…

  9. Crux Australis

    I saw the Big Dipper for the first time in Denmark in August, but, alas, no aurorae. *sigh* maybe next time.

  10. While I’m not the tourist board, and not able (nor willing) to pay for your visit 😀 – I can however, offer you a place to stay if you decide to come over for a visit.

  11. Carlos

    Mute the video and play it with Björk’ Joga…you’re welcome.

  12. Declan Kennedy

    Stunning. Many thanks.

  13. Sotiris

    Hi Phil,
    In the second picture(with the airplane wreck) the most bright object in the sky is Jupiter(on the left of Aldebaran ). Great pictures, great vid. greetings from Greece.

  14. Matt B.

    @4 MTU – Cleolinda Jones? Awesome! I have her first book of Movies in Fifteen Minutes. My former roommate was friends with her on LJ. I was not, so thanks for the link.


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