Best time to see the aurora borealis

When to See the Northern Lights In Alaska

Here Are A few Things You Should Know About Seeing The Northern Lights In Alaska

If you are curious to know when the best time to see the Northern Lights In Alaska is or when the Northern Lights are most visible in Alaska then, read on! You can also find out when the Northern Lights occur in Alaska below, and when it is the best time to visit Alaska to see the Northern Lights.

Most people are surprised to find out that you do not need to travel outside of the United States to see the Northern Lights. They are even more surprised to learn when the best time to see the aurora borealis in Alaska is! 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 can you see the Northern Lights in Alaska, when is the best time to visit Alaska to see the Northern Lights in Alaska, what is the best month to see the Northern Lights in Alaska, and what affects when you can see the Northern Lights when the Northern Lights are visible in Alaska, and other scientific details about the aroura you should know before planning your trip.

When Are The Northern Lights Visible in Alaska?

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

You may wonder when it is the best time to visit Alaska to see the Northern Lights. 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. You may ask yourself when are the northern lights in Alaska, and are the summer months the best time to spot them? If you are planning to witness the spectacular event, the summer months are not the best months to visit since the sky does not get dark enough. Making a trip to Fairbanks and the aurora oval can greatly increase your chances of seeing these lights cascade into the sky. Plan for 5 to 7-day trips to increase the chance of having clear enough skies to dedicate your time to locate them.

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 and when they are most visible; including climate, time of year, and geographic location. All of these factors can influence when it is the best time to go to Alaska to see the Northern Lights.

When can you see the Northern lights in Alaska? The northern lights actually take place 24 hours out of the day all year round. Being at the right place and time is key to viewing the northern lights. Viewing these mesmerizing hues of green, yellow, blue, pink, and violet are best on the shortest day of the year, which normally falls between December 20th and the 23rd, Fairbank’s has about 3 hours and 43 minutes of daylight making it another great time for when you can see Northern Lights in Alaska.

With that being said, the best time to see the 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 the best time to see the northern lights in Alaska is, 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 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.

When do the Northern Lights occur in Alaska? 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 and that the Northern Lights were highly visible in Alaska!

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

When is the best time to go to Alaska? When are the Northern Lights visible in Alaska? If you want to know when it is the best time to visit Alaska to see the Northern Lights in Alaska, and when the Northern Lights will be most visible, 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 and determine when you can see the Aurora Borealis 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 and when the Northern Lights occur in Alaska!

When Is The Best Time To Visit Alaska?

The best time to visit Alaska is between mid-June and mid-September. The warmer weather and long days make this a particularly pleasant time of year, with temperatures in the cool-but-comfortable range of 60 to 67°F. This is good news for those who want to view Alaska’s wildlife, including bears, sea otters, seals, and whales, and who want to see the auroras in the Alaskan sky! When can you see the northern lights? If these displays of lights are reasons you want to take a trip to Alaska, when is the best time to visit Alaska? During the summer months, the temperatures can range from the 60s to the low 70s with 16-24 hours of daylight. The Northern lights are not visible for most of the summer due to the number of daylight hours Alaska has. If you are wanting to see the dancing lights, visiting during the winter months will give you dark nights to view the Aurora lights.

Northern Lights Ecotour In Fairbanks, Alaska

Best time to see the northern lights in alaska

Charter Plane on the Northern Lights Extension

When is the best time to visit Alaska to see the aurora? 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, and when the Northern Lights will be visible in Alaska. As such, each Northern Lights Tour with Gondwana is timed to align with the aurora’s activity, ensuring that you are visiting Alaska during the best time to see the auroras. When the northern lights are out, a Gondwana guide will wake up guests so they can experience the magic! That truly is the best time to visit Alaska.

On the Northern Lights Ecotour, guests stay near Fairbanks, Alaska while chasing the aurora with guides who help determine the best time to see the Northern Lights in Alaska. 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 because the Northern Lights are most visible! 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. This is the best time to see the Aurora Borealis in Alaska or the best time to see the Northern Lights in Alaska.

Can You See The Northern Lights In Alaska In July?

Looking for the Northern Lights is always a game of chance because the universe needs to cooperate! Even the nights that are predicted to be good for viewing might not pan out, as the sky might cloud over at the last minute and discourage viewing. However, during the summer months (when the sun is out for 18-20 hours per day), you can pretty much give up on the Northern Lights for the season. Although it is possible that you can see the Northern Lights in Alaska in July, the viewing itself is elusive at best! It takes a particularly strong set of magnetic disturbances in the Earth’s atmosphere to create the conditions needed to produce an aurora display during Alaska’s long summer days.

Alaska’s Aurora Season Hot Spot

Of all the North American hot spots that are listed as prime locations for watching solar activity, Alaska is perhaps the finest. The state is enormous, with dramatic panoramas and expansive dark skies that showcase the Northern lights during Alaska’s aurora season, which runs from August 21 to April 21. While one area, in particular, does take top honors for spectacular viewing, it’s possible to witness auroras from nearly anywhere in Alaska. However, Fairbanks is one of the best places in the world to witness the phenomenon thanks to the area’s low levels of precipitation and position underneath the Auroral Oval — an atmospheric boundary around the Earth’s magnetic polar cap where auroral activity is particularly visible.



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! That’s the best time to visit Alaska if you want to see the Northern Lights.

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

So, when is it the best time to visit Alaska to see the Northern Lights? When are the Northern Lights visible in Alaska? Book a trip with us today and you will be sure it falls during the best time to see the Northern Lights in Alaska, during Alaska’s aurora season! Aurora season is definitely the best time to go to Alaska!

Download Our Northern Lights Brochure Here.