Three Stars in the Icelandic night sky

Three Stars boxes on sale in Iceland today

Exhibitor : Gísli Jóhann Sigurðsson

Three Stars is a well-known brand around the world, and is still on sale here in Iceland on boxes made by Swedish Match. Over 20 years ago they made a series of skillets with text in Icelandic about nature conservation, which were very popular.

Three Stars is one of the earliest brands that I collected, and it still makes me think about the stars in the Icelandic night sky.


Orion’s Belt

School book about Astronomy

When I was a boy sitting in a dark clear winter night on the steps of my home I would gaze up at the sky in wonder. We had been given a map book at school and on the back of it was a star map with instructions on how to use it : look north, hold the book over your head so that the name of the month is read directly through the eyes, and the map will show the starry sky at 10 pm (22.00).

Orion’s Belt. Photo credit: cafuego on Visualhunt

Back then I knew the three bright stars which form Orion’s Belt by their Icelandic name Fjósakonur (Cowgirls).  As I sat on the steps, those three stars were over the peaks of the mountains beyond the fjord, and because I knew these three stars in the sky it was easy to find and learn about the stars around them using this map.

Later I learned that the three stars in Orion’s Belt are called as Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka.


Summer in Iceland

In the summer here in Iceland the evenings are bright and there is no need for electric lights. On the longest day (21st June) the sun goes down almost to the sea and rises again.  The moment when it is almost down and starts to rise again is very special, and magical.

My hot tub
My summerhouse

Unfortunately there is now so much light pollution in town that you have to drive outside the city to see the stars (or in winter to see the northern lights).

Luckily I have a wonderful summerhouse in the country which I built many years ago with my two brothers in law, where we can lie in the hot tub in the evenings and search for the three stars in the sky.


Here is the set of Three Stars skillets with Icelandic text which were on sale in Iceland in the 1980s, together with examples of the same designs used in Norway and Denmark at the same time. Click on an image to enlarge it.

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