PRIVATE & SMALL GROUP TOURS TO THE WORLD'S BEST DESTINATIONS
Three Amazing Alaskan Vacations To Choose From!
Summer Trips To Alaska
Grizzlies & Glaciers Tour
Winter Trips To Alaska
See The Northern Lights
Summer Trips To Alaska
Denali Discovery Adventure
Can You See The Northern Lights In the U.S.A.?
Did you know that you don’t have to leave the country to see the Northern Lights? In fact, some of the best aurora watching is in Alaska! This amazing phenomenon occurs when waves of energy particles from the sun bombard the Earth’s atmosphere. The particles then travel along the Earth’s magnetic fields, toward the poles of the planet, where an exchange of energy produces the colorful lights that dance across the night sky. But when is best to go see the Northern Lights in Alaska?
Aurora Season In Alaska
Alaska’s aurora season runs from August 21 through April 21. During this time, the Northern Lights Activity fluctuates, due to many factors, but visitors have a good chance of seeing this natural phenomenon if they keep the following three things in mind:
- Clear skies – to see the Northern Lights, you need a clear sky! Clouds can obscure visibility.
- Solar activity – the sun’s solar flares play a big part in whether or not you can see the Northern Lights. If the sun is not active, the aurora borealis will not be visible. However, you can monitor the Aurora forecast! This handy tool was developed by the University of Alaska Geophysical Institute to track the Northern Lights and predict their strength. You can also use the Aurora Tracker, a more user-friendly option, to search locations where the Northern Lights will appear.
- Get out of town – it is possible to see the Northern Lights from a handful of cities (like Fairbanks), but in general, you should find a place away from the city lights to make sure that you can enjoy the light show.
Don’t forget – peak aurora viewing hours are between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. If you are persistent in your efforts to see the Northern Lights, you will very likely see the aurora borealis after a few nights of observing the nighttime sky.
The Northern Lights In September In Alaska
We know that Aurora Season officially takes place between August and April, but is September a good time to go to Alaska to see the Northern Lights? Yes! In fact, September is one of the best months to see the Northern Lights in Alaska because aurora activity is generally high.
September in Alaska is also the shoulder season, which means many hotels and tour operators offer their services for a reduced fee. As an added bonus, there are fewer tourists, no bugs, and the fall colors are outstanding. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that September can be cloudy and rainy, which negatively affects aurora viewing. But overall, many locals swear that September is when to go see the Northern Lights in Alaska.
The fall equinox also takes place in September. This first day of the fall season often brings a good opportunity to see the Northern Lights in September in Alaska. This is because the earth’s tilt toward the sun during the equinox enhances the strength of the Northern Lights. So, if you are interested in visiting Alaska during the September “shoulder season,” try to time your trip with the fall equinox to maximize your chances of seeing these magical lights.
Ringing In The New Year With The Northern Lights
Fairbanks, Alaska is known as the unofficial “aurora capital” of the U.S., and for good reason! The city sits directly underneath the Aurora Oval, a ring that encompasses the earth’s poles and where the Northern Lights are most likely to occur. In fact, the start of the New Year is a good time to visit Fairbanks, Alaska to see Northern Lights in January. During this time, the aurora are moderately active but the increased hours of darkness will improve your chances to see this light display. In fact, if you are actively searching the skies near Fairbanks for the aurora, you have more than a 90 percent chance of seeing it within three days’ time.
Here are five of our favorite places to see the Northern Lights near Fairbanks:
- Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge – this bird sanctuary is located just two miles from downtown Fairbanks, along a well-maintained road that is easy to access. In addition, the open fields mean that you’ll have a clear view of the Northern Lights!
- Chena Lake Recreation Area – this 2,000-acre recreational area is located 17 miles from Fairbanks. There are two separate parks within the recreation area, River Park and Lake Park, both of which have very little light pollution and plenty of open space that are perfect for aurora viewing.
- Cleary Summit – you can enjoy a spectacular view of the Northern Lights over Tanana Valley and the White Mountains from the top of Cleary Summit. However, this is a very popular place for aurora viewing, so be prepared for some crowds.
- Murphy Dome – this is an excellent location in Fairbanks, Alaska to see Northern Lights in January. It’s the highest point near Fairbanks and provides an unobstructed view of the sky for aurora watchers. Located 25 miles from downtown, it is a bit of a drive, but the stunning views are worth it.
- Aurora Pointe – this new venue, which opened in 2018, is located just 20 minutes from downtown Fairbanks. The building sits on 280 acres of private land and was designed with the express purpose of giving people a comfortable venue to view the Northern Lights.
Alaska’s aurora season is long and provides visitors (and locals) with plenty of opportunities to see this amazing spectacle in the night sky. Whether you choose to chase the Northern Lights in September in Alaska or visit Fairbanks, Alaska to see Northern Lights in January, you can be sure that a once-in-a-lifetime experience awaits you.