Strange Lights in Iceland Have Natural Explanations Skip to content

Strange Lights in Iceland Have Natural Explanations

According to Saevar Helgi Bragason, chairman of the Amateur Astronomical Society of Seltjarnarnes, all sightings of mysterious lights in the sky across Iceland on Wednesday evening have natural explanations. They were satellites, shootings stars, northern lights or even torches, he said.


The northern lights seen from Reykjanes peninsula in southwest Iceland in the night of October 25. Photo and copyright: Olgeir Andrésson. Source:

“My wife and I were thinking about having ourselves admitted to a psychiatric institution,” Jónas Ragnar Halldórsson, an antiquitarian and arts dealer, who noticed very mysterious lights in the sky on Wednesday evening with his wife Sigurlaug Gunnarsdóttir, commented to Fréttabladid.

Halldórsson said they had been on their way home from Hafnarfjördur, where they run an antique store, when they spotted a large fireball with a multi-colored tail explode over Gardabaer, a neighboring town, at approximately 6:40 pm.

“When we had just driven past IKEA I saw a large, green fireball with a silvery head arrive from the Bláfjöll area [where the capital’s ski resort lies] with colorful flames tailing it. Then it exploded after about ten seconds with flying sparks in front of us,” Halldórsson describes. “It was the weirdest object I’ve ever seen in the sky and I’ve seen a lot.”

After having leaned forward to stare through the windscreen and watch the light move in an almost horizontal line from the east to the west across Gardabaer for about five seconds, Halldórsson pointed the phenomenon out to his wife.

“It was moving at an incredible speed and then exploded with white sparks. And then it was gone,” Gunnarsdóttir added.

The couple weren’t alone in noticing mysterious lights in the sky above Iceland that night; quite a few such sightings were reported yesterday.

However strange, all these sightings have a natural explanation, according to Saevar Helgi Bragason, chairman of the Amateur Astronomical Society of Seltjarnarnes.

“Judging by the descriptions from Dalvík, the people witnessed the reflection of sunlight from the antenna of a satellite. It is like an extremely bright spot that moves across the sky. That night there were namely two such bright flares, more luminous than the brightest planets,” Bragason explained.

As for the woman who saw three lights move above Mt. Akrafjall, Bragason said there are two possible explanations: “If the lights were above Akrafjall they were three satellites together. If the lights were on top of the mountain, they were probably just headlights or torches people had brought with them on a hike.”

In Kópavogur a father and daughter saw a bright green light flash in the northeast. “It sounds very similar to northern lights which could be seen to the northeast that night,” Bragason stated, explaining that they can appear and then disappear in an instant.

Regarding the couple who witnessed a fireball explode, Bragason dismissed it as a falling meteorite. “Everything can suddenly light up with flames when the meteorite explodes and it leaves a line for many minutes afterwards. It must have been a very majestic shooting star. It happens at an altitude of about one hundred meters above the earth.”

Click here to read yesterday’s accounts of mysterious lights in the sky and to see some incredible pictures of northern lights.


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