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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
The forecast is updated for the night of December 3.
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.).
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.).
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.).
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.).
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.).
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.).
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.).
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.
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.
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!
Late summer aurora borealis corona display over Anchorage.