The aurora forecast for tonight is active to minor storm levels, Kp 4 predicted. It gets dark around 11pm in the interior of the state, and a little earlier for the Anchorage areas. Most of Canada may see the show as well. You can peek at the cam if you are in bed, check it out at ABN Aurora Cam. Or try the cam Ronn Murray Photography has. The cam up at Poker Flat, near Fairbanks is pretty cool to view as well.
Question: I am visiting Fairbanks this week and need help seeing auroras. What do I do? Where do I go? When do I look?
Answer: You need to be awake and ready to go when it is dark outside. You probably cannot see the aurora from your hotel room if you are in the city. Most hotels in town have too many “security” lights. You may have to walk outside to see the aurora show, or drive a bit away from the streetlights. If you can see stars, you can see the aurora. Look north, northeast, and look low if not overhead. I stayed at a hotel in Fairbanks for fun recently, and the hotel clerk did not know which direction was north. They also gave me false information regarding aurora. Not all hotel clerks are in the know when it comes to auroras, some are great, some are not. Feel free to ask questions on the ABN fb page or twitter. You can look here to see some hot spots for aurora viewing near Fairbanks. Don’t have a car? Greatland Taxi or others can drive you to aurora locations. Call soon to reserve. Cleary Summit is popular because even when the aurora is weak, you can see it because of the clear view toward the northeast on top of the mountain. The roads are nice now! Turn off your headlights. Turn off your smartphone. You cannot stare at your bright screen then the night sky and expect to see anything. Adjust your eyes! Again, here is what you need to do
1.) Be awake when it is dark.
2.) Be ready to drive out at a moments notice, or, already be in place.
3.) Dress warm, warmer than you think.
4.) Adjust your eyes to the dark.
5.) Watch ABN fb page or twitter for updates
6.) No matter where you are in town or out of town, know which direction is north. Look north, northeast, and low if you cannot see anything overhead (up).
7.) Murphy’s Law dictates that when you give up, that is when the lights will appear. Don’t give up unless the sun is rising.
Last night the aurora came out in the middle of the night, the only times it is dark now. The show was about 2am to 430am, with lights lower on the horizon before that. Clouds in many areas of the state covered the show. Fairbanks, North Pole, and Delta were the only reports I received.
Tomorrow night, the forecast winds down with quiet to unsettled levels, and Saturday night is quiet. This means the aurora may make an appearance, but may or may not be overhead and dancing.
We here at ABN stop reporting auroras April 15 due to the midnight sun.