The webcam is located on top of a roof in North Pole, Alaska, near Chena Lakes Recreation Area.
The cam is pointing straight up, with north on the top of the photo. If the cam is down text 907-385-7385.
FAQ’s about the webcam
Why does the camera look different, a circle, or like a bubble?
The webcam is a small camera inside a glass dome and is pointing straight up, giving you a 360° overhead view of the sky. It is located on top of a roof, mounted on a pole.
What do I see along the sides of the camera? What is that light seen sometimes?
The trees are seen surrounding the photo. As the seasons change, you will see the birch and cottonwood trees turn from green to yellow, to no leaves at all. The spruce trees remain dark green year round. When the sky is dark, you can see the stars, and get a sense of where you are looking, compared to walking outside and looking up. On occasion, you may see lights shine on and off. Those are cars driving up the driveway, coming home from chasing lights.
Located nearby is an Alyeska Pipeline pigging station, and when it is cloudy, residual and/or reflective light pollution can be seen on the camera. Their lights are not night sky friendly and are pointing upwards. It is hoped that someday they can become light pollution conscious so this area of North Pole can enjoy the night sky. Reflective light pollution is when man made lights bounce off clouds. The clouds then look orange, and sometimes pink or yellow.
Updated 2022: The entrance to Chena Lakes is nearby, and they have installed many streetlights in the first parking lot that are also not friendly to the night sky. Their reasoning when asked was that “too many people litter the parking lot”, so they need blinding light pollution 24/7 in the winter.
Ice is covering the cam. Can you clear it off?
When the weather is at the freezing point, any water on the cam freezes into thick ice. Sometimes the sun will warm it enough to melt it, but typically, we melt the ice using a hair dryer duct taped to a paint pole. We have a “home depot” like staircase ladder and safely walk up to the bottom of the camera pole.
Which direction is north?
For our camera, the top of the photo is north. Other all-sky cams may have north on the bottom.
Why can’t you live stream to the public for free?
Internet in Alaska is not cheap. Sorry. We are just “us” and not funded aside from membership. Maybe one day technology and internet will be easier and cheaper! This answer may change in the near future! Stay tuned. Some other webcams you enjoy may be government funded and/or have better internet service.
What are the dark spots occasionally seen in the photos?
Any spots that don’t move are either dirt or bird droppings! We will climb the ladder to clean it as necessary. Any bright spots may be hot pixels, and those will disappear.
What kind of camera is it?
It is a Moonglow Technologies All-Sky Cam. It was installed in 2015. The company no longer makes the cams. We are looking to upgrade at some point when funds are available. I have never posted a fundraising event as of this time, however, I do have memberships to this website, and advertising / sponsor slots available.
Why is the cam down at times?
Usually it is because of the internet. It blips often. The camera is plugged into a laptop with a cord. The laptop is plugged in with an ethernet cord so it never drops a wifi signal. Sometimes the laptop itself decides to update (despite the settings) or shut off if someone kicks the power cord. My kid named “Not Me” did it. Thanks for texting me to let me know if the cam is not updating!
I have a question about the cam. Can you answer it?
Yes, please email the question to Amy@AuroranNotify.com or put it in the comments. ~Amy