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