Every other night and sometimes every night, the aurora borealis is visible in parts of Alaska, Russia, Scandinavia, and Northern Canada as moving, pulsing brown, green, and red drapes.
For viewing the Northern Lights, the sky must be clear which is not guaranteed, so whenever you plan to go to the Arctic Circle, stay for a week. You should know that the full moon falls on February 19, 2019, but do not worry about moonlight, you can go a week later or a week before, and you will definitely find the dark sky enough to amplify any views of aurora that are viewable to you.
There are dozens of reasons that make the February month perfect for hitting the Arctic Circle and waiting for one of the best displays of nature.
Do not ignore the opportunity to experience this exceptional and mystical event. Discover everything about Northern Lights and all that you need to know to make your viewing trip a success. Trust us this is something incredible waking up in the middle of the night.
At the dead of winter, here’s the peak viewing season when the atmosphere is the coldest and when it’s darkest. Although, there are chances to observe the lights at the tail end of the summer season in early September. Hold out for winter and package up if this experience is a priority for you. Believe us, you won't regret it.
Where to Go?
Though you can possibly see them all over the country, the most consistent spot in Fairbanks. Inland and up, Fairbanks is under the “Aurora Oval," where auroras are noticed most often. You can take trips hours north from there.
If you're going to Anchorage, Salmon Berry Tours offers multi-day and an overnight trip to Fairbanks and Talkeetna. They take good care of the transport to and from so you can concentrate on the experience.
Book an all-embracing several days stay at Iniakuk Wilderness Lodge. This far-flung desert resort is 200 miles north of Fairbanks and 60 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Invasive city lights won't be an issue here. Spend your time snowshoeing or dog sledding, and then scan the skies for aurora during nighttime.
When to Go
Look at the Perfect Time of Day
Throughout Alaska's spring and autumn (September and March), the best time to observe the aurora is between12:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m.
Search for the Correct Weather Conditions
Check out these two forecast tools:
Consider the weather forecast for the city where you are.
UAF Geophysical Institute can provide you aurora forecast.
Can You See Them on a Cruise
What Should You Wear
For a chilly Alaska night you require:
- The top and bottom first layer or “long underwear" that's tight-fitting and formed from synthetic stuff like polypropylene or from organic wool. Keep away from cotton, as it holds moisture and isn't an insulator.
- Warm mid-layers such as a fleece jacket, wool sweater, and a hot pair of trousers. There is no doubt in piling on a few sweaters.
- Wind-Proof pants and a wind-proof coat. This layer traps the heat near your body. Gortex is the most commonly available brand, but what you're searching for is material labeled breathable and wind-proof.
- An insulated or down-filled parka will serve you well if you are looking for a visit to Fairbanks in the coldest winter months mainly November to February. Many organizations (like Patagonia or L.L. Bean) will provide you with a weather evaluation for their parkas. Start looking for a coat.
- Warm socks. You'll find a choice of fleece or wool-blend socks at the shop or any sporting goods. Two pairs of socks is not a trouble.
- Good Boots or winter boots, for example, Hiking Boots or Sorels with Gortex work.
- Hat, glove liners, mittens, and a neck gaiter or scarf. Keep in mind that the warmest pair of gloves is not as useful as a fantastic pair of mittens. The glove liners can remain on if you pull off your mittens to catch that award-winning photograph.
- Foot and hand warmers that stick inside your boots and mittens. These may work well, but take a while to warm up to their strength. To get them hot open up them and shake them for some air.
How Do You Recognize If It Is Aurora you’re Seeing
Here is what is going to happen. Auroras begin as faintly bands of Greenish white light that likely to go in an east-west direction. They start in the northern area of the sky and appear stationary and static.
But since they build in solidity, they become vibrant in color and position, moving south. With enhanced intensity, auroras start to resemble drapes hung vertically in the sky that is rippling in a mild breeze.
These drapes deform into spirals and arcs that can arc between the visible horizons as they reach maximum durability. At these higher levels of activity, auroras are unmistakable to most all viewers.
Despite, you must often see a dim patch of light approximately for a protracted period until it transforms into a more distinctive view. These brilliant displays tend to last for 20 - 30 minutes. The Aurora will start to fade but the second peak of activity can occur after 1-2 hour(s).
What Are They Really
Some people believe the glow of city lights are lights that are northern, but the real thing begins greenish bands that go in east-west management and then sometimes evolve to undulating waves. They produce faint blue, greenish-yellow, or blood red curtains in color. Alaska Native groups thought the lights had spiritual powers or even the dancing souls of the dead.
The Northern Lights occur due to solar activity - and some aurora seekers have opted to postpone their trip because sunlight is near what is known as a minimum. This is misguided. However, there's a little chance of having an auroral storm than during solar maximum, there'll be nightly views of Northern Lights right through until solar maximum yields in 2024. The trick is finding clear skies.
What is the forecasted ideal season to go in 2019
It's also helpful to ignore the full moon, and a week on either side or the moon side, to avert the skies. If you can discover dark and clear skies, be on alert from 10 p.m. through 2 a.m., and you may get to see an aurora. According to the Geophysical Institute, the best time to observe the aurora is at about midnight, give or take an hour.
Alaska's Northern Lights season is between mid-September and late April peaking in March, though that is to do with the dark and long nights compared to solar activity. Forecasting the Northern Lights involves estimating solar activity, which can be undesirable with our modern technology.
We do know, however, that the Lights are rightly seen in Alaska 70 ° between 65° north and 70° north latitude. Fairbanks sits at 64° N and appreciates sporadic Northern Lights, although it's better to skip the other southerly destinations of Anchorage and Juneau, which watch radically fewer views during solar minimum (which continues until the early 2020s).
For those wanting to optimize their opportunities now, move towards the more Northern villages in the north of Coldfoot in the Yukon Territory, or Prudhoe Bay and Barrow.
Resources for Northern Lights Forecast
SolarHam provides a forecast that is reliable and often employed by aurora chasers, while the Aurora Forecast app tells tourists the point of the auroral oval encompassing the Arctic Circle -- and indicates that the probability of viewing them in which you are (green, not so much -- and the Northern Lights are most likely happening right above you).