And suddenly, it turned to fall! Fall in Alaska is gorgeous: between the bright yellow aspens and the ruby red tundra, it takes autumn to a whole new palette of awesome! We talk about our Alaska fall experience in our Lance Facebook Update below:
We absolutely love the fall. Growing up and living in Michigan, fall is synonymous with changing leaves, pumpkin pie, hot apple cider, long shadows through the trees, the smell of decomposing leaves being raked into a pile, a bonfire in the evening to take off the chill, and gathering with loved ones. Up here, we are getting a very satisfying dose of fall feelings!
The darkening skies also bring another colorful phenomenon that you’re not going to want to miss: the Northern Lights!
Keep an eye on the University of Alaska Fairbanks has an Aurora Forecast that you can keep an eye on to determine when your best chances of seeing this spectacular light show are.
We were lucky enough to see the Aurora Borealis from our boondocking spot about an hour south of Fairbanks, which draws Aurora tourists from around the world for being one of the best places to see the colors dance in the sky.
What you need for Northern Lights Viewing:
If you are in an area that is expecting some Aurora activity, here are some things you should have to be prepared:
Sun flares – electrically-charged particles from solar winds enter the Earth’s atmosphere and collide with molecules and atoms. Light is given off as they release energy created in the collision.
Clear skies – check the weather forecast!
Warm clothes – recommend hat, gloves, warm jacket, thick socks, maybe even a blanket!
(Optional) Camera that can take long-exposure photos, and a tripod – a cell phone generally isn’t going to cut it, unless you have a fancy app that can manually control the shutter speed.
Chair/blanket – get comfy, they don’t have a set start or run time, so you’ll have to be patient. The show can ebb and flow, and you never know when it is going to get better or fizzle out. But while you’re waiting, you might even see some shooting stars!
*Note: While it is possible to see the brilliant colors that are often seen in photographs and timelapse videos, the aurora borealis will frequently appear as a white sheen glimmering across the sky. It can often be mistaken for a cloud. A long-exposure picture is the way to really get those colors to pop!