Last night, Reykjavík, Iceland, went dark so people could see the lights — the northern lights, that is.

The city council decided to turn off all street lights in the capital city and some surrounding areas to reduce light pollution, giving residents a clearer view of the aurora borealis. While the lights were intended to be out from from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. local time, the northern lights didn't materialize until close to 11, so the council extended the blackout until midnight.

The video above was shot on Sept. 25, so while it wasn't taken during the blackout, the view of the northern lights shimmering over Reykjavík remains a stunning sight.

The northern lights occur when energy and particles from the sun, traveling on solar wind, intermingle with particles in Earth's magnetic field. As a result, nitrogen and oxygen molecules release photons. These released photons, which can manifest as a range of colors, are what we see in the sky.

It's lights out in Reykjavik for northern lights
Iceland's capital shuts down street lights to offer a clear view of the aurora borealis.