By Meg Jernigan, Demand Media
Northern or polar lights, visible in both the northern and southern hemispheres, are curtains or pulses of colored light visible in the night sky. The lights are formed when a cloud of gas erupts from the sun and collides with the earth’s magnetic field; they appear when charged particles collide with oxygen and nitrogen atoms. While they are technically visible from any place on earth, they are most commonly seen closer to the earth’s poles. In Alaska, the lights may be visible most nights, especially during times of high solar activity.
AdventureSmith Explorations’ Northern Lights Tour and longer Iditarod and Northern Lights Tour include a stop at Chena Hot Springs for an evening of viewing the lights, while bathing in the springs and a coach ride to a yurt for viewing the lights. Go Alaska’s Aurora Train & Arctic Circle Adventure includes a stay at a mountain cabin with special viewing windows. An overnight stay in Talkeetna for Northern Lights viewing and a daytime sightseeing flight are the high points of the Alaska Railroad Winter Train Tour.