Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Best rate guarantee or we’ll refund the difference

Anchorage Northern Lights Forecast

Aurora and Weather Forecasts

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 – Anchorage Northern Lights Tour for a guided experience, showing you the best viewing locations and providing instruction on how to photograph this amazing phenomena.
ANCHORAGE WEATHER

3-Day Aurora Forecast

The aurora forecast is updated for December 3.

Keep an eye out for our daily weather forecast update below and tour status as noted on the Anchorage Aurora Quest page. The Kp estimate is for the maximum level forecasted for the time between 10:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. Alaska time. 

SUN DEC 3 – Planetary K-Index [predicted]: Kp 5.67

MON DEC 4 – Planetary K-Index [predicted]: Kp 3.33

TUE DEC 5 – Planetary K-Index [predicted]: Kp 3.00

Additional Information Affecting Aurora Viewing

Moon

The moon will rise at 10:37 p.m.  as an 58.86% waning gibbous and remain up all night. The moon will likely interfere with viewing a quiet aurora. 

Twilight

Astronomical twilight will end at 6:38 p.m. and will resume at 7:01 a.m. (Dec. 4). Twilight will not impair aurora viewing. 

Solar Winds

On 04 Dec, a large trans-equatorial Coronal Hole High Speed Stream (CH HSS) is expected to become geoeffective. Solar wind speeds in the 600-700 km/s range is likely based on recurrence values. HSS conditions are expected to continue through 05 Dec. There is also a potential for grazing influences on 05 Dec from a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) that left the Sun late on 01 Dec.

Geomagnetic Field

Unsettled to G2 (Moderate) storm levels are likely on 04 Dec GMT as a negative polarity CH HSS is expected to become geoeffective. Unsettled to G1 (Minor) storming is likely on 05 Dec GMT as HSS effects persist, possibly in combination with grazing influences from the 01 Dec CME.

Planetary K-Index

The Planetary K-Index (or Kp) provides an estimate as to how wide the auroral oval may extend. It does not indicate whether the aurora borealis will appear. The most important factors for aurora viewing are the solar winds and geomagnetic field – so note the information above on those. The Planetary K-Index is measured on a scale of 0-9. Anchorage is within the Kp3 zone (aurora visible overhead), but auroras are often seen here on the horizon as low as Kp1 (except for the early and late season, where a higher Kp is needed due to bright twilight). 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 9:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m.). We do not provide the Kp level for a forecast period outside of nominal viewing times (i.e., local daytime).

Tonight's Weather Forecasts

The forecast is updated for the night of December 3.

Anchorage

Mostly cloudy, with a low around 14. Northeast wind 5 to 10 mph. Estimated cloud cover is 87% (10:00 p.m.) to 99% (4:00 a.m.). 

Girdwood

Mostly cloudy, with a low around 23. South wind around 5 mph becoming northeast in the evening. Estimated cloud cover is 7% (10:00 p.m.) to 99% (4:00 a.m.).

Butte/Knik River

Mostly cloudy, with a low around 14. West wind around 5 mph becoming northeast after midnight. Estimated cloud cover is 20% (10:00 p.m.) to 32% (4:00 a.m.).

Palmer

Mostly cloudy, with a low around 17. Southwest wind 5 to 10 mph becoming north after midnight. Estimated cloud cover is 17% (10:00 p.m.) to 16% (4:00 a.m.).

Sutton

Mostly cloudy, with a low around 18. East wind 10 to 15 mph. Estimated cloud cover is 9% (10:00 p.m.) to 3% (4:00 a.m.).

Chickaloon

Mostly cloudy, with a low around 12. East wind around 10 mph. Estimated cloud cover is 11% (10:00 p.m.) to 1% (4:00 a.m.).

Glacier View

Mostly cloudy, with a low around 0. Northeast wind 5 to 10 mph. Estimated cloud cover at Lion Head is 22% (10:00 p.m.) to 41% (4:00 a.m.).

Wasilla

Mostly cloudy, with a low around 14. Light and variable wind becoming northeast 5 to 10 mph in the evening. Estimated cloud cover is 12% (10:00 p.m.) to 63% (4:00 a.m.).

Willow

Mostly cloudy, with a low around 8. Calm wind becoming north around 5 mph. Estimated cloud cover is 28% (10:00 p.m.) to 11% (4:00 a.m.).

Talkeetna

Mostly cloudy, with a low around 13. North wind around 5 mph. Estimated cloud cover is 25% (10:00 p.m.) to 49% (4:00 a.m.).

Latest Satellite Infrared Image of Alaska Cloud Cover

northern lights cloud cover graphic

Latest Satellite Infrared Image of Alaska Cloud Cover

northern lights cloud cover graphic
aurora forecast graphic

Current 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.

Comparing Anchorage and Fairbanks

Both cities fall within the auroral zone, which in Alaska is around 60°- 70° N. At this latitude, communities positioned beneath the band will see northern lights almost every dark, clear night. That said, the following information may help you decide which location suits your aurora quest best.

Average January Temperature

  • Anchorage: 17.1°F [-8°C]
  • Fairbanks: -7.9°F [-22°C]

Median Cloud Cover

  • Anchorage: 93% [clearest in March]
  • Fairbanks: 73-92% [clearest in February]

Landscape Features to Include in Aurora Photos

  • Anchorage: mountains, boreal and temperate rainforest, coastal areas, rivers and lakes with areas of open water for beautiful reflections throughout the season.
  • Fairbanks: hills, boreal forest, [open lakes and rivers early in the season].

Aurora Season

  • Anchorage: Aug 7 – May 7
  • Fairbanks: Aug 21 – Apr 21

Unique Advantages

  • Anchorage: Auroras often tend to be brighter and more active farther equatorward, relatively warmer temperatures, a variety of landscape features to include in aurora photography, longer aurora viewing season.
  • Fairbanks: More clear sky nights, more chance to see aurora during low activity periods.

Recommendations

Aurora chasers with a night or more in the Anchorage area have little to lose and much to gain by reserving an aurora tour here. Even those heading to or returning from Fairbanks will increase chances of seeing the northern lights, and enjoy the differing experience of each location. So if time allows, include both cities in your winter travel plan!

Anchorage Aurora Season 2022-23 Statistics

Late summer aurora borealis corona display over Anchorage.

0 %
Nights Clear Skies
0 %
Nights Too Cloudy
0 %
Aurora On Clear Sky Nights
0 %
Total Nights With Visible Aurora
0 %
Tour Success Rate
Book Now