Chinese scientists traveled to northeast Iceland last week in the search for a suitable location for a northern lights research center, which is to collect information for climate change studies and the operations of a satellite network.
Northern lights. Archive photo by Páll Stefánsson.
The scientists have collaborated with the University of Iceland Science Institute and the Icelandic Meteorological Office for some time. The Polar Research Institute of China (PRIC) will sponsor the center’s operations, ruv.is reports.
It must be located far from light pollution yet be easily accessible year-round. Possible locations are Hrísey island, Mt. Vaðlaheiði opposite Akureyri and the farms Mýri and Svartárkot in Bárðardalur valley.
“There will be facilities for four cameras outside and four to five computers inside,” said Þorsteinn Gunnarsson, a specialist at Rannís (the Icelandic Research Fund), in description of the center.
It will not be manned but an agreement will be made with locals at the chosen location to monitor the equipment.
“The northern lights indicate the interplay between solar winds and the earth’s magnetic field, so it is important in regard to space functions,” stated Huigen Yang, managing director of PRIC, explaining that the center is also important for the satellite systems.