Bright Side of Darkness: Access to Northern Lights

Vala Hafstað

Aurora Basecamp, a northern lights center which opened at the beginning of October in 2019, has enjoyed increasing popularity this fall, Morgunblaðið reports. It is operated in two igloos in a lava field on the outskirts of the town of Hafnarfjörður and only a 20-minute drive from Reykjavík. The igloos are located near the intersection of Krísuvíkurvegur and Bláfjallavegur roads.

Given the proximity to the capital area, the quality of the darkness in this area is regarded as unique, providing an ideal place to observe the northern lights. The town council of Hafnarfjörður is even reassessing its land use plan with the quality of the darkness in this area in mind.

Auður Jónsdóttir, managing director of Aurora Basecamp states that a visit to the Basecamp is not limited to observing the northern lights. Education is offered about the northern lights and the stars in the sky. On a cloudy day, a miniature simulation of the northern lights can be observed indoors. [Information from satellites regarding solar winds is represented in plasma lamps, designed to simulate conditions 100 km above the earth.]

Two igloos are in use for the operation, one of which has a spacious hall. The third igloo will be taken into use in the new year. COVID-19 struck shortly after the center opened, but attendance is up these days.

Icelanders and Icelandic companies in the travel industry frequently rent the hall for parties and events, such as wedding receptions, graduation parties, birthday parties, dance events and even meditation. Concerts are planned there in the near future, and there has been interest in having Christmas buffets there as well, Auður notes.

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