How can you see the aurora or northern lights?
Is it by chance?
Does the weather have to be cold and clear?

There are many myths about what is the aurora and how to see it. Looking at different websites and tourism forums, it is always surprising to me all the erroneous information that is being said. People trying to help but not knowing anything about space weather themselves may give false hope or just want your business. Or give advice that the aurora can’t be seen when in fact it can, or the opposite. There is nothing I can do to correct these websites or facebook groups, but I can make my own website something to help you see the aurora.

We do have classes on aurora science, aurora & night sky photography, and get-together parties to share the excitement of seeing the aurora. These classes and parties are located in Alaska, mainly Fairbanks and Anchorage. We are happy to host a class in your area. Please email

How to see the aurora in the northern hemisphere:
Know which direction is north. You can use your phone or GPS or a map. The Big Dipper may give you a hint which direction the aurora could be if you are confused by looking at your phone, or if you have no signal. Of course, in interior and northern Alaska, northern Canada, and northern Europe, the aurora can be seen in every direction when the data is good, or storm level, The weaker or small displays are seen mainly to the north, northeast. Lower latitudes in the northern hemisphere will only see auroras toward the north. Southern hemisphere, look south. So if you cannot see aurora by looking UP, then look NORTH. Let’s continue this instruction by seeing the Aurora Forecasting.

big dipper constellation and the aurora
The big dipper is seen with a faint aurora from outside Fairbanks, Alaska
Big Dipper, aurora, and pipeline viewing area Fairbanks Alaska USA
The big dipper is seen with a corona aurora. The location is the pipeline viewing area pullout, Steese Hwy, Fairbanks, Alaska. Photo by Amy Stratman
green stars
Cafego's Alaska, in Fairbanks Alaska
Big Daddy's BBQ Fairbanks AK