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Northern Lights Viewing: When Can You See Them in Alaska?

Alaska is one of the best places in the whole planet where you can see the Aurora Borealis dancing in the sky, but most of you don’t know when can you see the Northern Lights in Alaska.

This article will tell you not just when is the best moment when can you see Northern Lights in Alaska but also which are the best tours and places to stay to increase your chances of spotting this amazing phenomenon.

But let’s start with the beginning and find out what causes this natural phenomenon and why you can see it only in certain places from the Globe.

What is Aurora Borealis?

Northern Lights are an astronomical phenomenon which occurs at 60 or 70 miles above the earth’s surface and continues for hundreds of miles into space.

There are some electrically charged particles which travel through the magnetosphere and collide with gasses.

The collision between these two things gave birth to energy in the form of light, the lights you can see on the dark sky.

The intensity of solar flares dictates the intensity and the extent of activity within the Auroral Oval which is the ring shape area above the geomagnetic north where aurora activity is concentrated.

The most common colours of the Aurora dancing on the sky is yellow-green, but it can also be red, purple or blue.

When can you see the Northern Lights in Alaska?

This unique phenomenon occurs the entire year, but it is visible with the naked eye only when outside is dark and the sky is clear.

That is why the best time to see Aurora Borealis in Alaska is between mid-September to April when there are fewer daylight hours and the night sky is darker.

September and March are one of the best times to view the lights because of the equinox when solar activity is higher than usual.

The good news is that most of the hotels from the area offer northern lights wake up call, if you ask for this service, of course, so you will not miss the moment when polar lights are visible.

According to the scientists, the solar activity will constantly increase, reaching its maximum in 2024, when you can be witness to many incredible light shows during the long and dark nights of winter.

During the 2020-2021 season, the solar activity is lower but there are still many nights when the lights are visible in the sky.

According to the aurora forecast, if you travel to the Fairbanks region and Denali National park to chase Aurora in 2020 or 2021, it will be visible an average of 4 nights out of 5 if the sky is clear and dark enough.

In Alaska, seasons create different weather patterns and solar activity that should be taken into consideration when planning the best time when can you see northern lights.

January to March

The first 3 months of the year are one of the best periods when can you see the Northern Lights in Alaska.

It is a great time to visit this part of the world as viewing of the Northern Lights is one of the most spectacular shows from the entire planet.

The long and cold nights create excellent conditions for those interested in chasing Aurora Borealis and you have really high chances to see them in the early spring.

The spring equinox from March is one of those moments with an increased solar activity which translates into brilliant lights displaying on the sky.

April to August

As the summer comes, the number of hours of daylight increase, so the chances of seeing the Northern Lights decrease.

The lights do appear on the sky but they are less visible ( almost invisible with the naked eye) because of the daylight.

The midnight sun which creates the feeling of endless summer is the most important factor which reduces the visibility of the lights.

As the phenomenon lasts from May to August, these months are considered to be the worst period when can you see Northern Lights in Alaska.

September to December

The last 4 months of the year come with more hours of dark and reasonable temperatures to bear when chasing the Green Lady dancing on the sky.

Actually, these months are considered to be the best time when you can see Northern Lights in Alaska United States as the weather is not very cold and there are enough hours of dark.

There might be some cloudy nights when the lights are not visible, but overall if you travel far from any light pollution and search for clear sky, for sure you’ll end up with some amazing photos of the lights.

If you are looking to take some amazing photos then head up to one of the lakes from the area where the lights may reflect creating the illusion of a double aurora.

This is a great occasion when can you see Northern Lights in Alaska and go back home with amazing photos of this elusive phenomena!

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November and December are considered to be the first winter months, so the nights are even longer and darker, creating the perfect set up for the amazing night show of aurora viewing.

Now you know when can you see the Northern Lights in Alaska, so it is time to tell you where to stay and what tours to book for an ultimate experience.

Where to stay when chasing Northern Lights

As Fairbanks is one of the best places to go if you want to see this amazing phenomenon and you need total darkness to be able to observe them, I would recommend you the following accommodations, far from any city light pollution:

1.Auroravilla Alaska Fairbanks , a very quiet and clean lodge located far from light pollution with cosy apartments from where you can admire the aurora during your stay.

2. A Taste Of Alaska Lodge is a beautiful lodge located 30 minutes outside Fairbanks and offers one of the best views of the aurora.

During the day you can walk, ski or take a dog sledding, while at night admire the stars and the Alaska Northern Lights dancing on the sky.

3. Luxstay Views Waterfront Alaska is a wonderful apartment overlooking the lake, just 3 miles away from the University of Alaska Fairbanks ( where is located the geophysic institute) which offers an amazing view of the lake and the surrounding area and a great patio from where you can admire the lights during the night.

Best tours to take for seeing Northern Lights

The question is not only when you can see Northern Lights in Alaska but also which is the best way to spot them.

Can you see Northern Lights in Alaska on your own?

Of course, you can but this means that you have to take care on your own about everything: find the best spot, the best timing and prepare everything for the big moment in such detail that you can get the most of this moment.

You need a lot of knowledge and luck to be in the right place at the right time, so that is why I recommend you to let the experts take care about the hard part and book one of the following tours:

1. From Fairbanks: Northern Lights and Arctic Circle Tour which is a complete day tour which starts at 2 p.m and lasts for 14 hours.

You will see the imposing Yukon River Bridge while travelling along the famous Dalton Highway to the Arctic Circle.

You have snacks, sandwiches, hot punch and beverages included and at the end of the tour you will receive the Arctic Circle certificate as a proof that you crossed north to the Arctic Circle.

From Fairbanks Northern Lights and Arctic Circle Tour Guide Tour

From Fairbanks Northern Lights and Arctic Circle Tour Guide Tour


2.  Northern Lights and Chena Hot Springs – Night Tour which is a small group tour that starts at 5 p.m from your hotel.

You will relax in the famous Chena Hot Springs and then pay a visit at the Ice Museum’s handcrafted chandeliers and bar and then prepare your camera for taking some amazing photos of the Aurora Borealis reflecting in Chena Lake.

Northern Lights and Chena Hot Sprins Night Tour Guide

Northern Lights and Chena Hot Sprins Night Tour Guide

Travellers from all over the world come to Alaska to see this amazing show and to experience other winter activities like dog mushing, snowmobiling and skiing.

I am sure that some of you have never experienced such things as there is not enough snow in your home country so don’t miss this amazing opportunity!

Once you go back home please share with us your experience and let us know which was more interesting: seeing the Northern Lights or experiencing winter activities!