Rangá Observatory


Video by Leonardo Gutierrez

Hotel Rangá red logo.

“The night sky is always changing, and there is always something new to see - whatever amazing constellations, far-off planets or the incredible spectacle of the Northern Lights.”

Signature of local astronomer Saevar Helgi Bragason.

Sævar Helgi Bragason

Local Astronomer at Rangá Observatory

Photo by Karl Ólafsson

Rangá Observatory

A 14 inch Celestron Edge HD Schmidt-Cassegrain and a TEC 160ED APO refractor on an Astrophysics 900 mount in the Rangá Observatory. Photo by Andrew Klotz.

Telescope 1

The 14 inch Celestron Edge HD Schmidt-Cassegrain reflector is an ideal choice for observation, astrophotography, and imaging objects beyond our solar system with exceptional sharpness and resolution, as well as magnification potential. 

The Rangá Observatory has two incredible telescopes you can use to see the stars up close. Photo by Andrew Klotz.

Telescope 2

The TEC 160ED APO refractor on a Astrophysics 900 mount is wonderful for both observation and astrophotography, allowing our guests to get an up close look at the beauty of space including detailed glimpses of stars and planets alike.

The Rangá Observatory. Photo by Milan & Seila.

The House

The observatory stands about 150 meters east of the hotel. With the push of a button, the roof rolls out of sight, revealing the gorgeous night sky above. High walls shelter our guests from the cold wind, though we also offer cozy snowsuits to keep you warm while stargazing. About 20 people can stand inside the observatory at once and gaze at the Milky Way in all its glory. Read more about stargazing at Hotel Rangá in this blog post.

Our Hotel Rangá Observatory features two high-powered telescopes. Photo by Milan and Seila.

Local Astronomer

On clear nights from September to April, we invite a local astronomer to guide our guests through a tour of the dazzling night sky. These experts can help you use our high-tech telescopes to see stars and planets in amazing detail. Turn your gaze toward space and learn about the wonders of the night sky, the stories behind ancient constellations and the formation of far-off stars and planets.

Photo by Ragnar Th. Sigurðsson

Virtual Visit to Rangá Obseratory

Rangá Observatory on Instagram

Come with us on a stargazing journey @hotelranga

FAQ Rangá Observatory

Because the sun almost never sets during Icelandic summer nights, the observatory is only open between the months of September and April, unless upon request. To stargaze, we need clear skies with no chance of high clouds or rain, as moisture and high winds can damage our telescopes while high clouds blur out otherwise spectacular views. We open our observatory when the forecast shows that the sky will remain clear for several hours.

The observatory is open every clear night when weather conditions allow and includes experts on site. However, if you wish to see the observatory outside of opening hours we are happy to show it to you (no telescopes can be used though). 

Yes, when the observatory is open it is guided with an astronomer. Please book in advance. We usually know around 17:00 same day if the conditions allow opening. 

In Iceland, the Northern Lights are visible between September and April. Slightly after the autumn equinox and slightly before the spring equinox there are statistically somewhat better viewing conditions and more consistent Northern Lights. However, although there are somewhat better chances of seeing the Aurora during that time, we can never guarantee that the lights will appear.

There are three main variables that affect the chances of seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland: solar winds, local weather and the moon. The moon has an inhibitive effect in regards to weaker Auroras. We have, however, seen some stunning Northern Lights under a full moon — especially during a very active solar wind. The main factor that influences the appearance of the Aurora is the sun/sunspots/CME activity and the local weather (i.e. clouds). You can see the forecast for the next few days at this link.

We offer a Northern Lights wake-up call to make sure that our guests do not miss the lights should they appear in the middle of the night. We also provide warm snowsuits and blankets for our guests, and custom-made benches are available in the front of Hotel Rangá for guests to use while they watch the show.

Northern Lights can be seen with our bare eyes. The camera tends to enhance them, but they can be seen with the human eye – also the colors when they appear. 

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