Northern Lights in the Alaskan Arctic

The luck came to me once, in Iceland. Seeing aurora (aurora borealis, or northern lights) was high on my list of things to do since I was a kid, and it finally happened years later. Ever since I changed my lifestyle from a 70-hour work week at the office to self-employed, I promised myself not to pile up those ‘to do’ lists anymore. I so badly wanted to see the northern lights for years, and it could be solved by a simple trip to any Arctic region. This year, I tried to catch the aurora for the second time, in Alaska.

After a 12-hour train journey from Anchorage to Fairbanks, we drove another 10 hours to the Arctic Circle, 66° 33′ 44″ north of the Equator. The travel continued, and we ended up at Coldfoot, 60 miles north of the Arctic Circle. For the next two nights we took a short nap during the day, and went aurora hunting at night.

The aurora borealis is a scientific phenomenon that is caused by the collision of energetic charged particles with atoms in the high altitude atmosphere. The charged particles originate in the solar wind. It usually happens between 10° – 20° from the magnetic pole, but it can be seen in the lower latitudes during the strong solar storm.

We watched the sky filling with the layer of lights in Wiseman, while meeting Jack, and more powerful lights lit up the Coldfoot Camp next day. There are no words to perfectly describe this wonderful event of the universe.


Northern Lights seen at Coldfoot Camp, Alaska
Northern Lights seen at Coldfoot Camp, Alaska

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21 thoughts on “Runaway Photo: The Day I Saw Northern Lights in the Arctic”

  1. I went in search of the lights in the Lofoten Islands at the beginning of this year, so can appreciate the feeling of being lucky enough to seen them! I also understand what is involved in photographing them and these shots are beautiful! It’s one thing to capture a photo of the lights, but to create appealing compositions like these is another thing altogether! Sensational!

  2. Seeing northern lights with my own eyes is under one of my to-do list waiting to be strike off some day (soon, hopefully!).
    Must be really amazing to be under the blanket of this natural beauty.
    The photos look absolutely stunning! Love them! 😀

  3. I have always wanted to see the aurora borealis too! It was like one of my first travel dreams and first bucket list items when I was a kid. Posts like this always make me so jealous, as I’ve still not seen them! Great photos though, looks purely magical 🙂

  4. Wow! You had amazing scenery around the light as well (scenery in my viewing spot in Iceland wasn’t great, but the lights were amazing). I also wish I had gotten at least one decent picture…I got a lot of darkness.

  5. This is incredible! I’ve been trying to make plans to go to Alaska for this but haven’t been able to figure out how to organize it all. I’d be coming from Los Angeles. Can you share how you planned this trip. Alaska is a magical land.

  6. Wow, the aurora looks so stunning. My hubby once saw them in Norway at 17 after a nght in the pub. He was really freaked out as he didn’t know what it was and thought someone had spiked his drink. 🙂

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