My Travel Resolution.
discover hidden myths, taste diverse food and sleep below a sky full of shooting stars and galaxies every night
One of my favorite memories of Alaska is being outside on a clear night and seeing the Northern Lights. They are beautiful and it's a great way to spend a clear night; if it's not freezing! The best time to see Northern Lights in Alaska is late August through early April, but the period between late September to February or March can be very cold in Alaska!

September and October are great times and the Spring Thaw in late March or early April can be fun filled as well as Aurora viewing filled! I spent time in Fairbanks at couple of different times and I was blessed to see some pretty amazing Northern Light displays. I mostly saw green and white Auroras - the most common colors of the Aurora Borealis.

At a latitude of 66-69 degrees north is the band across the globe known as the Aurora Zone or Northern Lights Zone. This is the ideal location to see the dance and beauty of the Northern Lights. These countries include, Canada, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Scotland and Greenland. A lot of places to see Northern Lights!

where to see northern lights in Alaska

Beautiful places, but Alaska is one of the most stunning places to visit to see the Northern Lights, conveniently located in a nice city, cute town or a stunning National Park!

1. Fairbanks


You don't need to trek to some remote spot for Aurora viewing. Fairbanks is 150 miles south of the Arctic Circle and has many spots with no or low light pollution, so you don't need to go far to enjoy a evening light show! Since Fairbanks is a large city it's easy to find spot and tours to see this natural wonder!

Fairbanks has some top notch spots for easy and prime viewing, like Chena Lake and Murphy Dome. Tours are offered to these spots, renting a 4 wheel drive truck is another option if you are not a tour person.

2. Denali National Park


Alaska has many beautiful national parks, Denali is one of the states outstanding gem! The park has no light pollution and it's altitude will afford many spectacular spots to see the Aurora Borealis. Bring your camera for the light show and the amazing animals! Nome and Barrow: These small towns are remote and frigid but you could simply look out your window to see the Northern Lights. Both towns have cultural and historical significance.

Lack of light pollution and a clear night are two of the most important elements when trying to optimize the viewing experience. The University of Fairbanks has a geophysical institute that has a aurora forecast that is an invaluable tool!

Hot Springs are a fantastic spot for getting a birds eye view of this stunning natural phenomenon. Chena Hot Springs is 60 miles from Fairbanks and is to located under one of the most active of the Northern Light bands in the state. The resort offers some good choices of specialized Aurora tours.

When planning a trip to Alaska to view the Northern Lights be aware that late night to early morning hours are the best (10pm-3am) and the darker the night the better your chances. The clearer the sky the better and understand that many light displays may only last a few minutes; although they may come back. Auroras will be more vivid and frequent during high solar activity and high sunspot activity.

Cool facts about the Northern Lights

  1. The lights are the result of colliding, fast moving electrons in the magnetosphere and oxygen and nitrogen molecules in the upper atmosphere. The different colors are the result of whether the electrons collide with oxygen or nitrogen and with how much energy.
  2. Just because you can't always see the Lights doesn't mean they are not there. Apparently, they are always there, just not to the naked eye.
  3. Sightings of the Aurora Borealis has been recorded as early as the 500's, even some ancient cave paintings believe to have depictions of this natural phenomenon.
  4. There's an app for that! The Aurora Forecast is a downloadable app that tracks such variables as solar rays, wind speed and density.
  5. Some Native's believe that if you whistle loud enough you can make them dance! I actually saw this once. We were outside of Fairbanks and it was dark, clear and not too cold. The Lights were green and very low to the ground with a big band. I was there with 3 of my friends who could all whistle-I still can't! Anyway, they whistled really loud and yea, they waved a little bit! It was cool.

The Northern Lights, like all of nature, is unpredictable and will not show up just because you will it. But with tips, science, and the right conditions you can experience this wonder of wonders!
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