It’s August and that means the wonderful waving colors of the northern lights will once again be coming to the skies above Fairbanks, Alaska! Aurora Season in Fairbanks—August 21 through April 21—spans nine months of the year and all four seasons. Though the aurora borealis is active year-round, it is only during this time period that the northern nights are dark enough to see this awe-inspiring phenomenon.
This happens so reliably during Aurora Season that Fairbanks is often cited as being the best place in the United States (and one of the top locations in the world) for northern lights viewing. In fact, those that are in Fairbanks for three nights or more during Aurora Season have a 90 percent chance of seeing the lights! No guarantees, but the longer you stay, the better the chances.
Multiple factors that make Fairbanks the ideal destination for spotting the northern lights, luring visitors from all over the world:
- It’s located directly under the Auroral Oval, a ring-shaped band above the Arctic Circle where aurora activity is concentrated.
- Distance from coastal areas and low precipitation means less cloud cover and an increased number of clear night skies.
- Low light pollution thanks to a small population and longer nights for nine months of the year both contribute to darker skies.
- Many accessible vantage points to look for or the northern lights to appear.
Stay for at least three nights actively looking during late-night hours and your chances of seeing the aurora are more than 90 percent.