Explore Fairbanks Unveils Aurora Viewing Map
Aurora borealis at this time of year, at this time of day, in this part of the country, localized entirely over Golden Heart Plaza.
A new viewing map demystifies the northern lights for visitors who travel to the Fairbanks region to catch a glimpse of the fleeting aurora.
Explore Fairbanks created the Aurora Viewing Map & Guide, which not only provides background information about the physical phenomenon but identifies prime locations for the best view. The map identifies nine locales, including Cleary Summit, North Pole, Murphy Dome, Chena River State Recreation Area, as well as Fairbanks proper, that all offer excellent vantage points for seeing the northern lights.
The aurora viewing season starts in Fairbanks on August 21, one month before the autumnal equinox, and lasts for eight months. Due to Fairbanks’ location directly under the “Auroral Oval,” seeing the northern lights is commonplace. Businesses that host aurora-viewing visitors can almost guarantee a 90 percent chance of seeing the northern lights during a three-night stay. The latitude of Fairbanks at 65 degrees north, the relatively low precipitation away from the coast, and the sparse population with low light pollution all contribute to darker skies that are optimal for northern lights viewing.
The Aurora Viewing Map & Guide also offers basic instructions for photographing the northern lights as well as pro tips for aurora chasing and FAQs.
Aurora travelers to the Fairbanks area can pick up the Explore Fairbanks Aurora Viewing Map & Guide for free at the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center in downtown Fairbanks. An interactive version is available online at explorefairbanks.com/aurora.