Chasing the Aurora in Alaska was far from easy but absolutely worth it. I have seen the Aurora, also known as the Northern Lights, a couple of times now and each time has been more magical than the last. Put this on your bucket list, friends!
At first, you will likely think you’re just looking at clouds, but if you’re lucky enough to catch a glimpse while it’s storming, you’ll see hues of greens and blues. It’s absolutely breathtaking. Clear sky nights are essential for optimum viewing.
As a self-appointed, semi-professional Aurora chaser (lol), I’ve put together a short list of things you’ll need, along with some helpful tips I’ve collected that should help you for your adventure!
- A good camera! Joel shot these photos on a Sony A7riii
- Warm clothes – you might be out there for a while
- A great attitude – again, you might be out there a while!
- Soft Serve News Aurora tracking website
In Fairbanks the Aurora season is from about the first of September through to the end of April. While there is never any guarantee, we were told that it would be visible in Fairbanks an average of four out of five nights when the sky is clear and dark enough. Luckily the Aurora also seems to follow Joel wherever he goes, so we lucked out!
You can watch my trip vlog on YouTube for better quality!!
Tips for Aurora Success!
TIP #1- Soft Serve News is a website that you can use to track the aurora. Using satellite, the site is the most reliable aurora tracker and Joel recommends it. It updates frequently with real time Borealis predictions of the storm’s intensity using a KP measuring system. Essentially, the higher the KP the more visible it is to the naked eye. For Alaska, Joel and I operated around a 4 or 5… which is really good! When it’s at a level 3 or 4 you can see it quite clearly with your own eyes, but anything lower and you likely wont.
TIP #2 – If you plan to see the Aurora at its best, don’t plan on sleeping! Joel and I have found that not only are they pretty scattered, but they just get better throughout the night. So don’t fall asleep and miss them. They’re worth it… I promise!
TIP #3- For best viewing of the lights be as far away from the city as possible. We stayed at the Borealis Basecamp and it was the most amazing place just outside of Fairbanks, Alaska. You stay in these adorable clear-roofed igloos that make for a perfect view for the Northern Lights. You can actually watch them from the comfort of your own bed!
A huge thanks to Joel Schat for joining me on this trip and capturing the Aurora!