The Aurora Borealis is actually the glow of solar particles blown into the earth’s magnetic field more than 60 miles above the earth’s surface at speeds up to 35,000 miles per hour. The streams of charged solar particles surge and bulge along bends in the earth’s magnetic field. As they strike atoms in the earth’s atmosphere, they create greenish-yellow, faint blue, or even blood red curtains of color.
Alaska is the best place to see the Northern Lights, especially in Feb/March and late September to October, because the Earth's orbit is in a zone of maximum solar activity during these months. In addition, those months provide dark skies and mild temperatures. The Northern Lights are most active late at night or early in the morning. Check out the University of Alaska's aurora forecast.
Also since we are so close to Fairbanks—you can take a day trip and still get to see the Northern Lights—in the form of a show that provides a panoramic slide photography display of the Northern Lights on a 30-foot screen set to music and photography by LeRoy Zimmerman called The Crown of Light. Then you can tell your family - "I got to see the Northern Lights!"
The Northern Lights: one of those "must see," bucket list experiences...