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Reykjavik cuts street lights for the sake of Aurora Borealis

Reykjavik, the world's most northern capital, suffers from light pollution just like other cities and the council is trying to do something about it.
The Aurora Borealis is one of the night sky’s great wonders, but it tends to be a little shy.

The streets of Reykjavik went dark for one night only to give residents a better view of the Aurora Borealis, a sight that is usually diluted by light pollution.

Reykjavik council announced that street lighting would be switched off for an hour in the city, which is the world’s northernmost capital, the local government also encouraged the city’s residents to join in by turning off their lighting at home.

Ironically the Northern Lights were typically shy and alluringly unpredictable and didn’t materialise until the end of the blackout period, so the council decided to extend the streetlight ban.

This year has been a particularly good year for watching the Northern Lights, with some spectacular displays being witnessed in the skies over Iceland’s capital.

The spectacular scenes are due to the Earth being in the path of the solar wind – a stream of charged particles escaping from the Sun. 

Reykjavik, despite its small size, is increasingly suffering from light pollution as the city expands and local residents are hoping that the street light holiday is something that will be repeated, in order to encourage more people to witness one of the night sky’s great wonders.