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Northern Lights in alaska
Northern Lights in alaska

What month is best to see the Northern Lights in Alaska?

Confused about which month has the best view of the northern lights? The darker months when there is less natural light get the best view of this phenomenon.

By Cruise Booking Team

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You must have seen pictures and videos of magical lights swaying in the night sky. Even wondered from which place you can get the best view? Alaska is one of the most beautiful countries from where the northern lights are distinctly visible. Also known as aurora borealis, this phenomenon is the dance of colourful bands of lights in the night sky. During peak season, travellers from all over the country travel to Alaska to enjoy this beautiful occurrence as well as to take advantage of winter festivals, skiing, snowmobiling, and sporting events.


Best time to see the northern lights

The northern lights occur in all four seasons in a year, however, it may be difficult to see them under the midnight sun. The best time to get a glimpse of this beautiful phenomenon is between August and April. During this time, less daylight leads to darker skies, hence the lights can be seen distinctly.

The science behind northern lights

We are aware of the brightly lit skies famous all over the world. But what are they, and how come you can see them only from Alaska? The northern lights, also known as aurora borealis, occur about 60 to 80 miles above the earth’s surface and can extend hundreds of miles into space. They occur at a distance 10 times higher than a jet aircraft flies. However, they do not just occur out of the blue. There is a specific science that goes into play behind its occurrence.

The Earth’s magnetosphere is surrounded by electrically charged particles that travel through outer space. These particles collide with outer gasses, creating a massive energy surge in the form of light. The intensity of solar flares changes the intensity and extent of activity within the Auroral oval. The auroral oval is a ring-like area above the geomagnetic north of the Earth’s hemisphere where auroral activity is concentrated. You will often see the aurora lights to be brilliant yellow-green, but the aurora borealis, although less common, has been known to produce red, purple, and blue-hued patterns up in the sky.

Also Check: Things To Do On An Alaska Cruise

How to see the northern lights in Alaska?

Towns and cities are adorned with lights, and that may interfere with the viewing of aurora borealis. Although they are visible from the city, the best place to view the northern lights is from an area dark enough to see the night sky all clear. The lights can be visible from anywhere in actuality but can be best experienced from the interiors and the Arctic regions of Alaska. Here are some of the places in Alaska which offer the best view of the aurora borealis:

  • Fairbanks in Alaska is one such place best known for viewing northern lights. Hours of darkness in this place, followed by several activities dedicated to auroral viewing, make this place one of the top places from where you can see these mesmerising lights against the night sky.
  • Talkeetna, a south-central town of Alaska located 115 miles north of Anchorage, is another place from where the northern lights are properly visible almost every night. This old historic city with log cabins and roadhouses has been in existence since 1917. Besides chasing the aurora, this town offers ample opportunities for loads of outdoor fun and sports. There are shops, galleries, restaurants, and even a brewery that you can visit. If you visit Talkeetna in December, make sure to be a part of and visit the month-long Winterfest.
  • Amongst the top places to view the northern lights, Denali National Park is also one of the main tourist attractions in the USA. Named after the tallest mountain in the United States, looking at the northern horizon from the parking area will show you a picturesque view of the lights on a clear sky day. The lodges near the park remain closed from September to May, and some parts of the park become difficult to access. While visiting during the winter months, you can stay in a nearby town called Healy, located close to the park.

Other towns and regions in the Arctic and interior regions from where the lights can be seen well are Wiseman, Prudhoe Bay, and Coldfoot. You have to travel quite far up north to see these lights clearly, and moving further away towards the south reduces the visibility.

If you are planning a trip to Alaska, make sure you have a tour guide for you upon reaching the state. They will know remote and off-beaten tracks with less ambient lights from where the lights can be seen prominently. Tour guides and companies offer single-day viewing packages. You can increase your chances of seeing these lights by booking yourself multi-day viewing packages as well. These packages come with meals and overnight stays at remote lodges or homestays, built specifically for viewing the northern lights so that you can gaze at them all night long in your luxury.

Header Image by 24stocks at Freepik

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