Aurora Viewing in Southcentral Alaska

Though Fairbanks is often assumed to be the only northern lights (aurora borealis) viewing location in Alaska, there are some distinct advantages to chasing the lights in and around Anchorage and Southcentral Alaska. This Anchorage northern lights forecast page is designed to provide you information to aid in your search for a northern lights experience during a visit in the Anchorage area. Join us on our Anchorage Aurora Quest for a guided experience, showing you the best viewing locations and providing instruction on how to photograph this amazing phenomena.

Aurora and Weather Forecasts

3-Day Aurora Forecast

Updated daily no later than 2:00 p.m. Alaska Time

TUE FEB 25 – Planetary K-Index [predicted]: Kp 1-2

WED FEB 26 – Planetary K-Index [predicted]: Kp 1-2

THU FEB 27  – Planetary K-Index [predicted]: Kp 1

Additional Information Affecting Aurora Viewing: The moon will not be up all night, rising at 9:27 a.m. on February 26 as a 8.6% waxing crescent. Weak enhancements in the solar wind environment are possible on 26-27 Feb due to potential interaction with a negative polarity, south polar extension coronal hole high speed stream (CH HSS). The geomagnetic field is expected to be mostly quiet on 25 Feb, then become unsettled through 27 Feb with possible CH HSS (negative polarity) activity. There is a slight chance for active conditions on 26-27 Feb as well if this feature becomes geoeffective (pointing toward Earth). With the exception of Tuesday night, skies in the vicinity of Anchorage should be mostly clear all week through Friday night. Keep an eye out for our daily weather forecast update below and tour status as noted on the Anchorage Aurora Quest page.

Planetary K-Index indicates how far south in latitude on earth auroras might be seen. It is measured on a scale of 0-9, and indicates locations where the aurora borealis can be visible overhead. Anchorage is within the Kp3 zone, but auroras are often seen here on the horizon at Kp2 (except for the early and late season, where a higher Kp is needed.) A fairly accurate Kp index can be determined up to 3-days in advance. For the Kp index indicated in the Anchorage northern lights forecast, that is the maximum Kp predicted during the prime aurora viewing time in the Anchorage area (generally between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.).

Current Aurora Ovation

Aurora Ovation

Hemispheric Power is a measure of auroral activity that helps determine how bright and active auroras might be. It measures the rate of deposition of charged particles (mainly electrons and protons) into the atmosphere, where they collide with upper atmosphere particles and eventually stop. This process transfers their kinetic energy to the upper atmosphere. The higher the number, the more charged particles are depositing in the upper atmosphere. It’s measured on a scale of 5-150 GW [Gigawatts]. A power level of 20 or more is usually adequate to produce auroras visible to the naked eye. Hemispheric Power fluctuates and is a short range forecast that can be determined only up to around 30-90 minutes in advance with relative accuracy.

Tonight's Weather Forecasts

Updated daily no later than 2:00 p.m. Alaska Time. 

Anchorage

A 20 percent chance of snow before 9pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 11. North wind 10 to 15 mph. Estimated cloud cover 85% (10:00 p.m.) to 99% (3:00 a.m.).

Girdwood

Snow. Low around 20. East wind around 5 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible. Estimated cloud cover 99% from 10:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.

Knik River Area

A 20 percent chance of snow before 3am. Cloudy, with a low around 10. East wind 10 to 15 mph. Estimated cloud cover 100% (10:00 p.m.) to 99% (3:00 a.m.).

Palmer (includes Hatcher Pass)

A 20 percent chance of snow before 9pm. Cloudy, with a low around 10. East wind 10 to 20 mph. Estimated cloud cover 99% (10:00 p.m.) to 84% (3:00 a.m.).

Sutton

A 20 percent chance of snow before 9pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 11. Northeast wind 10 to 15 mph. Estimated cloud cover 99% from 10:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.

Glacier View-Eureka

A 50 percent chance of snow. Cloudy, with a low around -4. Northeast wind 5 to 10 mph becoming light north in the evening. Estimated cloud cover 99% from 10:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.

Wasilla

Mostly cloudy, with a low around 11. Northeast wind 5 to 10 mph. Estimated cloud cover 89% (10:00 p.m.) to 77% (3:00 a.m.).

Willow

Mostly cloudy, with a low around 5. North wind around 5 mph. Estimated cloud cover 76-77% from 10:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.

Talkeetna

Mostly cloudy, with a low around 8. North wind around 10 mph. Estimated cloud cover 58-59% from 10:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.