Best time to see the aurora borealis

When to See the Northern Lights In Alaska

Heading To Alaska To See The Northern Lights? When Are The Northern Lights In Alaska? What Is The Best Month To See The Northern Lights In Alaska?

Here Are A few Things You Should Know About Seeing The Northern Lights In Alaska, Including When The Best Time to See the Northern Lights in Alaska Takes Place

Most people are surprised to find out that you do not need to travel to outside of the United States to see the Northern Lights. Though Norway’s aurora display is fantastic, the Northern Lights of Alaska are certainly a bucket list item for many of our travelers. Regardless of where you plan your Northern Lights viewing, there are a few things you need to know. For example, when are the Northern Lights in Alaska, what is the best month to see the Northern Lights in Alaska,  what effects the when you can see the Northern Lights, and other scientific details about the aroura you should know before planning your trip.

When Are The Northern Lights in Alaska?

Best Time to See Northern Lights In Alaska
(When can you see northern lights in Alaska? What is the best month to see the northern lights in Alaska?)

Simply put, the best time to watch the aurora borealis in Alaska is during cold months. This time usually ranges from September to March. Areas near the magnetic north pole see the most brilliant displays, which become more intense as the temperature drops. Although the aurora technically occurs year-round, dark, cold night skies provide the best time to watch the northern lights in Alaska’s fall and winter months.

Though we aren’t able to predict the solar activity that will cause the northern lights to appear, we have a few tips that help understand when the northern lights are going to show up; including climate, time of year, and geographic location.

With that being said, the best time to see northern lights in Alaska is hard to predict on a day-to-day or hour-by-hour instance, but if you want to know when are the northern lights in Alaska you are likely more concerned with the time of year, not the time of day. So, if you travel to Alaska from September -thru- March it then your chances of seeing the northern lights in Alaska are increased. In fact, the best time to see the Northern Lights in Alaska, as well as the best months to see the northern lights in Alaska, centers around the solar activity during the Equinoxes – the last two weeks of September and the second and third week of March.

Did You Know: The Solar Cycle Effects When You Can See The Northern Lights in Alaska

when are the northern lights in alaska When are the northern lights in Alaska? Between September and March.

If you’re trying to decide on the best time to see the northern lights in Alaska, or the best month to see the northern lights in Alaska, take the year into consideration as well! The northern lights are caused by the sun’s charged particles reacting with particles in the earth’s atmosphere. The more solar activity, the more brilliant the displays will be and these brilliant displays mean you’ve managed to find the best time to see the Northern Lights in Alaska!

For a more scientific explanation, every 11 years, the sun goes through an activity cycle that peaks at the solar maximum (high activity) and solar minimum (low activity). When the sun reaches maximum activity (the last solar maximum happened in June, 2014), the northern lights become their most bright and spectacular. Typically, the aurora will be highly active for 2-3 years on both sides of the solar maximum. This means that the 2016-2017 season was the most stunning display of the aurora that we had seen in a long time!

Tips to Plan Your Trip for the Best Time to See the Northern Lights in Alaska

If you want to know the best time to see the Northern Lights in Alaska, consider planning your trip to time up with a big solar storm, which makes it the best time to see the Northern Lights in Alaska. Big solar storms are usually forecast at least 15 days in advance, so you will be able to pinpoint the best time to see the Northern Lights in Alaska! If you’re flexible about your travel dates, check the Northern Lights forecast around the September/March equinoxes and plan your Aurora trip for the days with the highest solar activity and best northern lights viewing opportunities. You’ll be very likely to enjoy an unforgettable show, because this is the best time to see the Northern Lights in Alaska.

Northern Lights Ecotour In Fairbanks, Alaska

Best time to see the northern lights in alaska

Charter Plane on the Northern Lights Extension

Our guides have been in Alaska for 30+ years, and love sharing this experience with guests. They have a keen understanding of when it is the best time to watch the northern lights in Alaska. As such, each Northern Lights Tour with Gondwana is timed to align with the aurora’s activity. When the northern lights are out, a Gondwana guide will wake up guests so they can experience the magic!

On the Northern Lights Ecotour, guests stay near Fairbanks, Alaska while chasing the aurora. This geographic location is great for viewing the northern lights in Fairbanks — roughly 180 miles south of the Arctic Circle. Though Fairbanks has Alaska’s biggest population, the city lights don’t impact the visibility of the night sky from our secluded lodge located on a private reserve outside of the city in fact, Fairbanks is one of the world’s most popular destinations to watch the northern lights in Alaska. During the day, learn about local culture and explore Alaska’s natural wonders. At night, watch for the northern lights under a starry sky. Learn More About the Northern Lights Ecotour!

Fairbanks’ Aurora Season runs from August 21 to April 21 – one of the best times to watch the northern lights in Alaska! During this time, the aurora will be visible in Fairbanks an average of four out of five nights when the sky is clear and dark enough. Although the aurora is dancing in the skies year-round, we can only see it during the Aurora Season when the sky is dark enough.



Beyond Fairbanks, there are parts of Alaska that are incredibly remote – a true wilderness relatively untouched by modern life. Enter Bettles, Alaska. With a population of 12, the pristine tundra is an unparalleled backdrop to the northern lights. After experiencing the culture and liveliness of Fairbanks, Bettles offers an interesting contrast to how many Alaskans live in rural communities. Learn More About the Arctic Circle Extension!

What Colors Are The Northern Lights In Alaska?

Similar to the aurora in other parts of the world, when you see the northern lights in Alaska, you will typically witness an array of swirling green, white, and teal hues. When the aurora is more intense, then purple and magenta edges may be visible.

What Affects When You Can See The Northern Lights In Alaska?

To be clear about when it is the best time to see the northern lights in Alaska, you should understand a few things:

  • The time of day affects when you can see the northern lights
  • The season affects when you can see the northern lights
  • The time of year affects when you can see the northern lights

The good news is that if you are going to see the aurora in Fairbanks, Alaska, then you have a 90% chance of seeing the northern lights if you visit between late August and late April. That’s six months of aurora viewing!

Travel With Us For The Best Time To See The Northern Lights In Alaska

Download Our Northern Lights Brochure Here.