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aurora forecast

stamford CT
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aurora forecast

Good morning,

I am planning a 4 day trip to Fairbanks sometime in March, and would like tyo know the aurora activity for that month before I purchase the tickets ... is there a way to know the best nights to see the lights so well in advance?

Thanks.

Yukon, Canada
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1. Re: aurora forecast

No there isn't - forecasts are only accurate for a few days (and the viewing this winter is dismal).

stamford CT
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2. Re: aurora forecast

Thanks for the input ... it's probably better to hold my plans for next year ...

KC
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3. Re: aurora forecast

Colombia, you might want to check out the Geophysical Institute site:

http://www.gedds.alaska.edu/AuroraForecast/

They can't do 2 month forecasts, but there are some tools that can help you gauge auroral activity. Also - like every Alaskan I've ever encountered - they'll be more than happy to discuss what they do and provide some friendly, helpful guidance.

It *is* a quiet solar cycle, and the weather has hampered viewing this winter. Nevertheless, we're going to FAI next week and hoping for the best. Good luck!

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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4. Re: aurora forecast

That isn't exactly true . . . the solar activity that creates the conditions for the aurora are cyclical, known as Carrington cycles. They are generally pretty good in terms of predicting mid-range (60-100 days) but lately (since last fall) the UA-F has stopped maintaining their web site that used to be used by many for projecting when to come to the area for aurora viewing and photographing.

Generally speaking, March is a VERY good time to be up north for the aurora for a couple of reasons. The equinox is a plus, as are the crisp, clear nights often found in Fairbanks in March. The Fairbanks CVB will tell you that if you're there for three nights, the probability of seeing the northern lights is around 70%.

When I was there in March 2007, I had several consecutive nights in a row of great viewing and photographing. This past year, however, there was only one good night (our second in town) and after that, the nights that the aurora was active was cloudy and overcast . . . and the two crisp nights had no auroral activity. So as with most things in nature, while there may be predictive indicators, there are no sure things when planning for the future.

With all of that said, March is a GREAT time to be in Fairbanks, and I would encourage you to consider making the trip anyway, especially if you time it so that you can take in the Open North American Championships (sled dog sprint races over three days the 3rd weekend of the month) . . . and the Int'l Ice Art Championships (that begin in late February with exhibits open into March as long as the warm weather stays away).

I have written several journals and posted a lot of photos on www.igougo.com on Fairbanks in March and hope they might be helpful as you consider your options:

(2008) igougo.com/journal-j70410-Fairbanks-Back_to_…

The rest are from 2007's trip:

igougo.com/journal-j65217-Fairbanks-Explorin…

igougo.com/journal-j65220-Fairbanks-Alaskas_…

igougo.com/journal-j65239-Chena_Hot_Springs-…

igougo.com/journal-j65218-Fairbanks-Indoors_…

Santo Domingo...
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5. Re: aurora forecast

Please... excue my ignorance beforehand, just in case I ask for something stupid.

Where do you have to go to see the aurora?

is it possible in June?

fti
MN
Destination Expert
for Alaska
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6. Re: aurora forecast

June won't work. The earliest is usually the end of August, the latest is probably sometime in April.

I saw them from near Juneau once but Fairbanks is an excellent place, and being away from city lights is a huge plus.

John

Healy, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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7. Re: aurora forecast

It has to be very dark to see the aurora, and because Alaska is so far north, we have perpetual daylight during our summer season . . . it doesn't even begin to get dark at night until August . . . so from May on you won't see darkness, let alone the aurora. I have seen some spectacular aurora in the winter - sometimes as early as September or October . . . but it just depends on the aurora cycle as well as other current weather conditions, such as clouds, full moon, etc., that would either limit visability or detract from the aurora. Because the Interior region of Alaska tends to have cold/dry weather, we tend to have better clarity - as well as we are away from bigger cities. All those things are a help when desiring to see the aurora. But that is what makes it a bit elusive and magical . . . because you never know when you are going to see a display! :)

Santo Domingo...
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8. Re: aurora forecast

Wow guys....

Its amazing how people have different desires...

Over here tourists coming from the north whish to see a perfect sunset by a caribbean beach full of palmtress...and I would just die to see the aurora....

Irony?

Healy, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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39,265 posts
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9. Re: aurora forecast

Nope - I am one of those that would love to be sitting on the beach in my shorts, watching the sun go down. Instead, I get to put on my big down parka, go out where it is actually fairly warm at zero degrees F. and head home in the dark. :)

I'll trade you!! :)

Santo Domingo...
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10. Re: aurora forecast

What is it with us, humans, that always wish for whatever we don't have?

Look at us right now! you'd trade with me for a sunset by the beach, and I'd defenetelly trade with you too for cold and aurora sighnings!!

Ther is no much we can do about it...be can exchange some pictures though!:)

In the other hand, we can always trade a bottle of great dominican Rum for great alaskan vodka, when I visit in July?:)

Anyone? That would make it even more "pricy"!

'The bottle I traded with a fellow TA friend":)