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Northern lights season is coming to an end — here's how to see them before it's too late

March 05, 2020
3 min read
Northern lights season is coming to an end — here's how to see them before it's too late
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If you're reading this, it's not too late to catch a glimpse of the northern lights this season.

As winter finally draws to a close, warmer temperatures and longer days are on the horizon. While that's great news for those of us who can't stand the cold, it means your chances of seeing the northern lights are rapidly ending. Typically, the aurora borealis becomes even more rare in late spring, with March and April signaling an unofficial end to northern lights viewing season.

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The good news, though, is that you still might have an opportunity (or two) to make it happen, but you're going to have to move quickly.

"Auroral activity will be moderate" the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks said of March 5, 19, 27 and 28. "Weather permitting, moderate displays will be visible overhead from Utqiaġvik [Alaska] to as far south as Talkeetna [Alaska] and visible low on the horizon as far south as Bethel, Soldotna and southeast Alaska."

During these dates, the Kp index — which measures aurora strength — will be a 4, according to the institute. The index is generally less than 4, so your chances of seeing the lights are slightly greater than usual. The index ranges from 0 to 9, with 0 being the weakest and 9 being a strong geomagnetic storm.

Of course, you'll have to make a trip up north to see them.

While fears of the fast-moving coronavirus are on the rise, this could be a good excuse to travel to a region that, as of time of publication, has not been affected by the virus. According to Forbes, you'll either need to take a last minute trip to Alaska, or travel to a destination near the Canadian border for a chance to view the ethereal auroras.

Related: How a global outbreak has left the travel industry reeling

Fairbanks, Alaska may be one of your best bets, and is only a three-hour flight from Seattle-Tacoma International (SEA). Seattle is home to Alaska Airlines, and you can book nonstop flights there on virtually all major domestic carriers from major hubs across the country.

If you're looking for an easier itinerary from the East Coast, you'll want to head to Acadia National Park in Maine. Cadillac Mountain has the best view, Forbes said, and you can get there by flying into Portland (PWM). The park is about a three-hour drive from the airport. Or, again, you can venture even farther north to Canada.

Featured image by Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.

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  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
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  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases