Einar Þór Gustafsson

Espresso and whisky drinking foodie that likes to run up mountains and swim in the cold ocean. Co-founder of Getlocal 

3 minute read06 Sep 2017

Best tools to find the northern lights

The northern lights are a tricky thing and as much as we would like to be able to control them we all know that we are dealing with nature and nature pretty much does what she wants.

 - Look at our great selection of northern lights tours

Luckily we also have a few scientists that have spent a lot of time trying to understand all of this and some nice people have put together websites and apps that we can use to see when and where the northern lights are on… well most likely at least.

1. Icelandic Met Office

http://en.vedur.is/weather/forecasts/aurora/

The Icelandic Met Office has a pretty cool website where they show the strength of the activity and also the cloud cover over Iceland. This can be a pretty good indicator of where it’s best to be and if the clouds will be interfering or not with the visibility.

Pros:

  • Shows cloud coverage
  • Very simple and clear indication of strength (KPP value)

Cons:

  • Doesn’t work great on mobile phones or tablets
  • Shows only 3 day forecast

Screenshot from the Icelandic Met office northern lights forecast

2. Astronomy website of Iceland

https://www.stjornufraedi.is/stjornuskodun/naeturhimininn/nordurljosaspa

A personal project by some smart people that are really intro astronomy, they know a lot about the northern lights and give a really detailed explanation about what is happening and the physics behind it but unfortunately their website is in Icelandic only. But you can translate it into your language of choice using Google translate

Pros:

  • Very detailed information about what is happening
  • 7 day aurora forecoast

Cons:

  • In Icelandic only
  • No cloud coverage

The astronomy website of Iceland northern lights info site

3. Northern lights Alerts App

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/northern-lights-alerts/id1041324284?mt=8

This is an app created in Iceland and is designed to send out alerts that are within a range that you set. This is a great tool that will alert if you somebody is seeing the northern lights, you can also alert everybody else if you see them.

Pros:

  • Free app and free service
  • Easy to setup
  • Alerts you if the northern lights are visible

Cons:

  • No forecast
  • Needs your location to be used

Icelandic northern lights alerts app

4. Northern lights watch Facebook groups

In Icelandic: https://www.facebook.com/groups/northernlightswatch/

In English: https://www.facebook.com/groups/154848124616342/

An Icelandic Facebook group where locals share what they are seeing and where, also show photos from recent sights. Very active with many members.

Pros:

  • Many active members around Iceland

Cons:

  • Icelandic group is mostly in Icelandic
  • The English group also has posts from other countries

Northern lights watch Facebook group

5. AuroraNow App

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/aurora-now-northern-lights/id1037695306?mt=8

Nice app that shows you what’s happening right now but also gives you an hourly forecast. Has some technical metrics that we don’t even understand but it’s hard to read what’s happening tonight and shows no information on cloud cover.

Pros:

  • Clear 3 day forecast
  • Clear “now” probability

Cons:

  • Have to pay for alerts
  • Very technical
  • Doesn't emphasize tonight

AuroraNow probability forecast

6. Solarham

http://solarham.net/

Just a notable mention, we don’t use it personally as it’s way to complicated but for those that like this kind of stuff it could be gold :)

Conclusion

The good old Met office with the simple KPP measure and cloud forecast is really all we need. We do recommend combining some of these tools to get timely alerts and to plan ahead.

So no matter if you are booking a northern lights tour with us or heading out hunting on your own we do hope these resources are helpful.

Don’t forget to check out our northern lights guide for more information

 

 

 

Learn the secrets

Get Local Advice

 

The Icelandic Swimming Pool Rules

You might have noticed when you travel around Iceland that almost every town, no matter how big or small has a swimming pool. They might not have a bank or a hospital but they’ll have a swimming pool! Our geothermal energy makes this possible of course and provides hot water for our little paradise getaways. We really love our swimming pools band we have strict rules you need to know about!

 

The South Coast of Iceland - the ultimate guide

The southern coast of Iceland is by far one of the most popular destinations that Iceland has to offer. It’s easy to access and many breathtaking sights to see. It’s actually such a big deal over here that we tend to refer to it exclusively as “The South Coast”. Sometimes forgetting that many countries do in fact also have their own south coasts.

 

Iceland Airwaves 2018 - What to see

Don’t miss out on the biggest music festival of the year: Iceland Airwaves 2018

 

13 tips on driving in Iceland

Driving in Iceland is amazing but it can be tricky so take precautions and be safe! Road conditions can be unpredictable due to weather and there are a few things you need to know.

Your adventure in Iceland starts here

Here are some great tours we recommend

 

Northern Lights Tour from Reykjavík

Guided 3 hour northern lights hunt and stargazing tour from Reykjavik. Journey out of the city on a hunt for the elusive northern lights, one of the most popular things to see during the winter while in Iceland.

kr 6,490 3 Hours

Book Now
 

Northern Lights Tour from Reykjavik by Boat

Guided 2 hour (approx.) northern lights tour from Reykjavik. Traveling by boat.

kr 9,900 2,3 Hours

Book Now
 

Golden Circle and Northern Lights from Reykjavik

A Golden Circle tour guided in 10 languages combined with a hunt for the aurora.

kr 13,490 10,5 Hours

Book Now
 

South Coast and Northern Lights Tour from Reykjavik

Start with the south coast trip and wrap it up with a chance to see the Aurora.

kr 17,490 13 Hours

Book Now

Looking for something to do in Iceland?