Northern Lights – Part One: ALASKA

Alaska Aurora

When one thinks of Alaska, it almost always invokes an image of expansive stretches of ice and

snow. As well as snow-capped Spruce trees and mountain ranges, like the popular Brooks

Mountain range, located the furthest north out of Alaska’s 14 mountain ranges. However, the

most sought-after attraction to be found in the state is probably the world-famous Aurora

Borealis, otherwise known as the Northern-Lights. The breath-taking natural festival of lights is

definitely one for the bucket list. This spectacular show isn’t available year-round, however, and

depending on the weather it may not be visible even during the peak season. Don’t let this

discourage you though; with a little planning you are nearly guaranteed the opportunity to watch

this dazzling light-show.

Since Alaska is situated underneath the Aurora Oval, the area on Earth in which the

Northern-Lights are visible, there are numerous cities and towns one could visit to catch the

show. The first place that we will explore is the Northernmost U.S. city of Utqiagvik. This lovely

borough is home to nearly 5,000 residents, of which the majority are of Alaska Native heritage.

This offers us a great opportunity to learn about Alaskan culture and history at the Iñupiat

Heritage Center during the day, and come nightfall, we’ll have the chance to see the light show

of a lifetime.

If we’d rather stay close to civilization then we should look no further than the wonderful city of

Fairbanks, Alaska. Usually when we think about cities, we often imagine thousands of buildings

and bustling cars, all of which would add to the light pollution and drown out the stars. This is

not the case for Alaska, as it is unique in that the cities and towns still remain fairly

undeveloped. Consequently, there is very little to almost no light pollution to be found in

Fairbanks so we wouldn’t even have to leave the city to enjoy the light show. There are many

winter activities to be found within Fairbanks, from skiing to ice-carving, that we can do to pass

the time until nightfall. You shouldn’t hold back either, because even if a full day of activities

wears you out and you end up in bed early, the many hotels are well aware of the best times to

see the lights, and are more than happy to offer wake up calls or alerts to their guests.

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