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Old 11-07-2011, 03:48 PM
 
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In the next summer or the summer after next, I'll go to mainland Europe for sure (Paris/Italy). However, as a connection I'd really like to see the midnight sun and the aurora lights.

What are the different experiences one would get between Iceland and Norway? I'm thinking an advantage of Iceland is that it's enroute back to the US East coast, but I'm curious how the two compare.
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Old 11-07-2011, 05:58 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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Obviously, you can't see both. If there is a midnight sun, there is no darkness for the aurora to be visible.

It's almost always cloudy up there. It will always be sunlight through the summer, but seeing the sun itself at exactly midnight is a crap shoot. Best chance would be at an inland location, away from the sea, for clearer skies on the northern horizon. That would be easier to find in Norway, than in Iceland.
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Old 11-08-2011, 03:15 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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I always hear about sightings up in Norway, it also goes further north if that counts for anything.
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Old 11-08-2011, 06:29 AM
 
Location: Yorkshire, England
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superseiyan View Post
In the next summer or the summer after next, I'll go to mainland Europe for sure (Paris/Italy). However, as a connection I'd really like to see the midnight sun and the aurora lights.

What are the different experiences one would get between Iceland and Norway? I'm thinking an advantage of Iceland is that it's enroute back to the US East coast, but I'm curious how the two compare.
You won't be able to see the Northern Lights in summer - it never gets dark at northern latitudes at that time of year. Also, there is no date when you can be certain of seeing it. I know people who went to Iceland to see it last February and were unlucky, ditto when Bill Bryson travelled around Europe for one of his books he had to spend a few weeks in Hammerfest or somewhere like that in northern Norway in midwinter until it happened. It is pure pot luck when and where it happens. Northern Europe in midwinter is a very cloudy place. Also, Iceland is not quite in the Arctic Circle, meaning that despite having 24-hour daylight the sun does dip below the horizon for an hour or two even in midsummer. Northern Scandinavia is above the Arctic Circle and the sun literally does not set.
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Old 11-08-2011, 09:43 AM
 
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Yes I think the OP is misinformed.

The northern lights is a seasonal event, and only occurs during certain conditions. Obviously the season to see them is not summer.

Midnight sun is a misnomer. It might never get totally dark in the winter in the far north because the sun never totally sets. It gets darker, it's niether night or total afternoon type daylight that you may have in mind. It might be a 3 or 4 hour dusk period during the typical night time hours, depending on how far north you are. I've experienced it in Alaska near the arctic circle.
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Old 11-08-2011, 11:27 AM
 
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Once you go north of the arctic circle, you get the sun above the horizon for more than 24 hours. Norway is the best choice for either sight, as it extends much father north.

The best place to view the aurora is considered to be Tromsoe. A good combination of civilization and arctic. The sun stays above the horizon for 2 months in summer, and below for 2 months in winter.

And yes, the aurora won't show for months after the midnight sun.
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Old 11-08-2011, 01:13 PM
 
Location: Trumbull/Danbury
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Coming back from London in the summer of 2009, we made a detour to Reykjavik, Iceland on the way home for a couple days. It was cool to step outside the hotel at midnight, and see the sun, but I think from like 2:30 to 4 the sun was below the horizon. There is no part of Iceland that is above the artice circle, so the sun dips below the horizon for at least an hour, even in mid summer.
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Old 11-08-2011, 04:29 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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That's right, I had forgotten about that---the Arctic Circle is north of any part of Iceland. So if you go to Iceland in summer, you have no chance of seeing the Midnight Sun nor the Aurora Borealis. The sky will be nearly full daylight all night, making it impossible to see the aurora, but it also will dip below the horizon on the solstice, so there is no midnight sun either.

Furthermore, the north coast of Iceland is the cloudiest place on earth, so you'll probably never even see the open sky there.
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Old 11-08-2011, 06:02 PM
 
Location: California Mountains
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Even in the winter, Aurora Borealis do not happen every night. We were in Iceland in February 2010, and the locals said they had not seen any lights for a while. All Northern Lights tours included a disclaimer that there was neither guarantee nor refund, and the only thing they could do was to take you out one more time if the first night were a no show.

We were extremely fortunate to see the lights, not once but two consecutive nights (we went again the second time, for we were so fascinated it.) The locals told us those two nights were the best in 30+ years.

BTW, exactly two months later, the volcano erupted and destroyed the one village that we visited.
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Old 11-09-2011, 12:07 AM
 
Location: Trumbull/Danbury
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
That's right, I had forgotten about that---the Arctic Circle is north of any part of Iceland. So if you go to Iceland in summer, you have no chance of seeing the Midnight Sun nor the Aurora Borealis. The sky will be nearly full daylight all night, making it impossible to see the aurora, but it also will dip below the horizon on the solstice, so there is no midnight sun either.

Furthermore, the north coast of Iceland is the cloudiest place on earth, so you'll probably never even see the open sky there.

I was in Reykjavik 2 night's in early June, and I saw the midnight sun both nights. In May, June, July and August the sun will still be visable at midnight, but will dip below the horizon for at least 1 hour, usually from like 2-3 in middle summer.
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