No, it’s not a publicity stunt for the upcoming final season of Game of Thrones, the image below was captured in real time of a spectacular Northern Lights display over Iceland.
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The picture was taken by Jingyi Zhang on February 6 and was later selected as NASA’s Astronomy photo of the day. The image shows what appears to be the shape of a dragon breathing fire, within the dancing display of the Northern Lights. The photographer’s mother can also be seen in the foreground as she ran to witness lights dance above her head.
The Aurora Borealis is a naturally occurring phenomenon. They happen when fast-moving particles from the earth’s magnetic field collide with oxygen and nitrogen atoms. The collisions release light particles known as photons. Multiple collisions create enough light to be seen with the naked eye.
The Auroras are occurring continuously; however, it needs to be cold and dark in order to see them with the human eye. The most common colour of the lights is green, but the aurora can be blue, purple, pink and even white.
Auroras have also been observed on other planets like Jupiter and Saturn. Iceland is a prime location for viewing the northern lights because of its northerly position on the globe, and short dark winter days.
The appearance of the lights can be anything from a thin faint ribbon, all the way to the massive dancing display seen in the image above. At times the lights can even be bright enough to read a book without the assistance of a torch.
According to NASA, no sunspots have appeared on the sun in February which has lead to an unprecedented level of picturesque aurora displays.
It would seem that this time of year is a perfect chance to hunt for the Northern lights in Iceland. This image might finally have an answer for Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen. Where are your dragons? Well, there’s at least one in the sky over Iceland.
Have you seen the Northern Lights in Iceland? Tell us about it in the Facebook comments below.