Photos that emerged from the skies of northern Iceland a few months ago captivated the hearts of millions of people who were excited by the eerie shapes of the Auroras. These images certified Iceland as the best country on earth to enjoy plentiful of auroras. Part of Northern Iceland is within the Arctic circle and this impressive aurora display didn’t come as a surprise but the unique shape did amaze many across the globe.

Phoenix is a legendary bird in classical mythology that lived for six centuries in the Arabian desert, after this time burning itself on a funeral pyre and rising from the ashes with renewed youth vigor to live through another cycle. When photos of the phoenix-shaped auroras hit the internet, millions of users were moved by the beauty and hence sharing them.

The rare aurora formation of a legendary phoenix bird
The rare aurora formation of a legendary phoenix bird

The impressive pictures were captured by a professional Icelandic photographer Hallgrimur P Helgason 64, who said that he had been camping for several days in the Kaldasel area where he took the photos. He said that after an hour of waiting, he was rewarded with the most striking aurora figure that he had ever seen. Given the quick transition of auroras, Helgason wasted no time in snapping the cute-looking and playful phoenix auroras before they could disappear.

According to Helgason, the auroras formed a near perfect outline of the fire-breathing creature which was common in ancient mythology and that is the complete description of the phoenix bird. He was awed when wing-like shapes formed to align on the main aurora figure and then creating the perfect phoenix resemblance ever seen.

He added that on that particular night, the aurora was a strong one given the vivid strong colors it displayed and these were mainly green, yellow and later red and blue. By being very far from the lights and pollution of big cities while avoiding using a flash, he captured the images with his powerful Canon camera and a stable tripod. He also said that the phoenix-like figure appeared for only a minute and then other irregular shapes quickly followed, but none of them were as perfectly matching to the mystical bird as the first aurora.

Helgason’s patience for the perfect aurora shot on a chilly night paid off when at around 3:30am a new wave of light particles beamed up the sky and then suddenly formed up a very memorable phoenix-like figure. He was a lucky man because other aurora gazers had left after a quiet and disappointing night when most auroras had died down.

The aurora phenomenon is a natural polar light display that is predominantly seen in the high latitude regions such as the Arctic and Antarctic. They are produced when the earth’s magnetosphere is sufficiently disturbed by the solar wind that precipitates them into the upper atmosphere (i.e. the North pole) where their energy is lost. The subsequent ionization of atmospheric constituents emits light of varying color and complexity – which is the aurora.