Stories from Alaska

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When Will I See the Northern Lights in Alaska?

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The northern lights are among Alaska’s biggest and brightest, exciting and elusive attractions. To experience the northern lights is something you will never forget, but it isn’t always easy to time things right. It’s worth the effort, however, because these are one of nature’s greatest wonders. But to see this magical light show, you need to be equally hearty – and lucky.

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Prime time viewing of the northern lights (also known as “aurora borealis”) comes during Alaska’s dark and cold seasons in the Fall, Winter and early Spring (September to April). Viewing conditions are always variable but ideally you need clear night skies and with lots of solar activity.

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You can increase your odds of seeing the lights the farther north you travel. Fairbanks and Alaska’s Interior region are well-known for dazzling displays. That said, sometimes the northern lights can be seen even in Anchorage. You can further improve your likelihood of seeing aurora borealis by getting familiar with the numerous online northern lights activity trackers and by planning a trip with the right tour operator.

For the most accurate forecast, we look to the University of Alaska Fairbanks’s Geophysical Institute. They have the most up to date aurora activity and keep it updated with up to a 28 day forecast.