Perhaps better known as the Northern Lights, the Aurora Borealis can produce an incredible light show that will stop you in your tracks as you gaze skyward. Once believed to be dancing spirits in the night’s sky, the northern lights still fascinate us today!
However, as seemingly vast as they are, finding the best places to see the northern lights isn’t as simple as it sounds. What you see depends on where you are, and whether certain conditions occur simultaneously in the night’s sky. With clear skies, residents in snowy climates can hope for that correct encounter of particles around the Earth and Sun that will produce a colorful, dazzling show. This can occur any place in the upper Northern Hemisphere, but there are a few places around the world where you are much more likely to see the Lights in their best light, so to speak.
Fairbanks may be the best place in all of Alaska to view the Aurora Borealis. Fairbanks is right under the oval of the Aurora Borealis, and since the city is so far north, you don’t have to go too far out of town to see the lights. Nevertheless, you will need to drive far enough to escape the lights inherent to any city. You’ll have to wait until you get a cloudless night for good viewing, and even then, you have to hope the Aurora Borealis will be active when that night arrives. You can watch for active nights by monitoring the website of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute. Remember to dress warmly when you go out and to drive on roads that are clear of snow and safe for driving. You can go farther from the city if you have an all-terrain vehicle, in which case consider Murphy Dime or Ester.
The Canadian arctic region is made to order for the winter weather enthusiast, with its mountains, lakes and expansive, star-filled night sky. Needless to say, this area is also a popular place to see the bright lights of the Aurora Borealis. Look to see this show of gold and green lights from August through April, when the region has long nights and clear skies. Another bonus that comes with the Yukon is that you can find some nice places to lodge your weary – and perhaps cold – bones, such as the Northern Lights Resort in Whitehorse.
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