Your odds of seeing the northern lights in Alaska are good this winter — here’s why

Dec 25, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Aurora borealis on your bucket list? Since mother nature can be unreliable and downright erratic at times, here’s some good news for a change.

The northern lights in Alaska are expected to be stellar this winter and next, Anchorage Daily News reported, due to powerful solar winds. So, now may be a good time for aurora hunters to book a trip to the Last Frontier.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Northern Lights over Fairbanks Alaska
Northern Lights over Fairbanks, Alaska. (Photo by Noppawat Tom Charoensinphon/Getty Images)

The sun’s polar magnetic field will reverse soon, and this phenomenon occurs every 11 years. When that happens, the solar winds change and reveal more sunspots (dark-colored areas of magnetic activity). In essence, it’s the perfect storm — yes, pun intended — for some fantastic aurora borealis viewing.

While the northern lights are most famously sought out from destinations north of the Arctic Circle — primarily Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden — you may not necessarily have to cross international borders to find witness this natural wonder.

By 2024 and 2025, an aurora could happen every few days in central Alaska. In fact, Fairbanks, Alaska, is one of the best places to view the aurora lights in the state, as many tours specialize in aurora hunting. Visitors could also check in to the Borealis Basecamp, in a remote part of Alaska, or search for views from the Aurora Winter Train, which traverses Alaska’s backcountry from mid-September to mid-May.

And with the onset of the reversal of the sun’s magnetic field, you may even get the opportunity to see the aurora in Anchorage or other destinations in Southern Alaska.

Best of all, we’ve recently seen lots of great fare deals to Alaska this winter for as low as $135 round-trip on Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines if you’re looking to plan the trip of a lifetime.

Just be sure to keep an eye on NOAA’s aurora and geomagnetic forecasts. Watch the Kp index, specifically, which measures aurora strength. You’ll know your chances of seeing the northern lights are better than usual when the Kp index is 4 or higher. The index ranges from 0 to 9, with 0 being the weakest and 9 being a strong geomagnetic storm.

Featured photo by Simon’s passion 4 Travel for Shutterstock.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.