Your definitive guide to seeing Alaska's northern lights

By Jamie Carter
November 13, 2017, 4:00:16 PM EST

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(Photo: FlickrVision/Getty Images)


While many travelers think they have to head to Europe to see the Northern Lights, you can actually spot this phenomenon without leaving the United States. Northern Alaska is where many Americans head for the chance to see the aurora borealis. It may be cold in winter (temperatures can drop to -30°F), but the inland Alaskan Arctic — where skies tend to be clearer — is one of the best places in the world to see this famous light show.

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When Is the Best Time to See the Northern Lights?

Historically when’s the best time to see the Northern Lights in Alaska?

The Northern Lights occur because of solar activity — and because the sun is presently near what is called solar minimum, some aurora hunters have decided to postpone their trip. This is misguided, however. Although there is a smaller chance now of experiencing a full-on auroral storm than during solar maximum, there will be nightly displays of Northern Lights right through until solar maximum returns in 2024. The real trick is finding clear skies.

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