Northern Lights Viewing from Fairbanks


Northern Lights – The Aurora Borealis from Fairbanks Alaska

Northern LightsFairbanks is one of the best places on earth for experiencing the beautiful and mysterious northern lights. The largest city in the Interior region of Alaska, and second largest in the state, after Anchorage is the principal city of the Fairbanks, Alaska, Metropolitan Statistical Area which encompasses all of the Fairbanks North Star Borough and is the northernmost Metropolitan Statistical Area in the United States, lying less than 120 miles (190 km) south of the Arctic Circle. Fairbanks is a home rule city and the borough seat of the Fairbanks North Star Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska.

Best place on the earth to see Northern Lights

The city of Fairbanks, in Alaska, is often cited as the best place to see the Northern Lights in the United States. While you can potentially see them all over the state, the most reliable spot is Fairbanks. Up and inland, Fairbanks is geographically under the “aurora oval,” where auroras are seen most frequently. Bright, energetic curtains of yellow, green, red or even purple light brighten our night skies regularly. Fairbanks is situated within a ring-shaped region around the North Pole called the auroral oval. This location provides a terrific balance of occurrence, frequency and activity. Plus, our continental climate offers many more clear nights than you would find in a coastal area. While intensity varies, the most common yellow-green glow occurs heavily between late August and April. Prime viewing time is late evening through the wee hours of the morning.

Experience the aurora borialis

Experience the aurora from a heated “aurorium” cabin, on an overnight sled dog trip, by snow cat tour to a panoramic vista, in a horse drawn sleigh, on a flight above the Arctic Circle, or simply walk outside and look up to see the captivating northern lights weave their way across the night sky. If the aurora appears in the middle of the night, many hotels offer wake-up calls so you won’t miss a moment. The longer you stay, the better your chances of viewing a once in a lifetime display!

Since you can only see them at night, you want to come when there is the most darkness—from September until about April 20; that’s when there are: 1) frequent displays, 2) clear skies, and 3) generally mild weather.

The aurora is unpredictable, and no one’s entirely sure when—or where—it’s going to appear. But here are some tips to give you the best odds of seeing the aurora in Alaska.

Start looking about an hour and a half after sunset, but peak auroral activity is between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. solar time. (Solar time is 2.5 hours after clock time during daylight saving time (and 1.5 hours after during standard daylight time. That means the best time for seeing the aurora during Alaska’s winter is 11:30 p.m.–3:30 a.m. with the peak at 1:30 a.m. During Alaska’s spring and fall (September and March), the best time to view the aurora is 12:30 a.m.– 4:30 a.m.