Iceland is known for its spectacular views of the northern lights, or aurora borealis, which streak the night sky under certain conditions. Light pollution is the enemy of happy skygazing, so Reykjavik council decided to switch off street lights in some areas of the city on the night of 28 September, when vibrant aurora displays were forecast.
According to Iceland Monitor, residents were asked to switch off lights in their home, and the police and fire brigade were made aware of the requested blackout.
Viewers in the Icelandic capital were not disappointed by the shimmering light show, and stunning photos flooded social media.
Aurora borealis happens when high-energy particles from the sun collide with molecules in the Earth’s atmosphere, causing the molecules to give off light, like a neon sign. The colour of the light depends on the nature of the molecule being hit and how high it is; oxygen gives off yellow-green and red light, while nitrogen usually glows purple.
Matt Tucker is the UK Picture Editor for BuzzFeed and is based in London.
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