Aurora Season in Fairbanks

Photo © Explore Fairbanks

Fairbanks lures people from all over the world during the “Aurora Season” from August 21 to April 21. The city’s location directly under the “Auroral Oval”—a ring-shaped region hovering over the far north—combined with a good balance of clear nights, occurrence frequency and activity allows for excellent aurora viewing opportunities.

Drive to a nearby vantage point and wait for the northern lights to appear. You can also arrange to view them from a heated “aurorium” cabin or lodge, on an overnight dog sled adventure, by snow cat tour or on a flight above the Arctic Circle. Ask your accommodation’s front desk if they offer a wake-up call when the northern lights are out. No guarantees, but the longer you’re here, the better your chances of seeing a great show.

When aurora hunting, keep in mind:

  • Intensity varies daily, with the best displays from late evening to early morning hours.
  • Aurora will be visible an average of four out of five nights when the sky is clear and dark enough.
  • If you stay a minimum of three nights and are actively out during the evening hours, your chances of seeing the aurora increase to more than 90%.
  • Auroras range in color, typically in shades of green but sometimes in the spectrum of yellows to magentas.

Myth busting:

  • A full moon does not obscure the light of the aurora—as a matter of fact, the full moon enhances the contrast between the scenery, the snow and the aurora.
  • The twelve-year aurora cycle does not significantly impact northern lights viewing in Fairbanks because of its position under the “Auroral Oval.”

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