I embarked on a quest to experience something that I’ve never seen before, the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights as most call it. October found me in Anchorage, Alaska in search of the elusive cosmic collision of ionizing particles into Earth’s atmosphere.
We began our descent into Anchorage just after midnight; the pilot announced: “if you’re on the left side of the plane, you can gaze at the northern lights while we land.” Awe-Inspired, I sat there watching the dancing green sheets of light as we landed.
After just flying 6+ hours across the country, I’ve never run so fast through an airport to grab a rental car, so I could find a spot to photograph the aurora. I finally found the closest and darkest public park, and I grabbed my camera to photograph this fantastic light show.
As quickly as it started dancing across the sky, the aurora stopped, and the night returned to darkness. I journeyed to my hotel in downtown Anchorage, where fellow travelers were just as amazed at the light show. It’s worth mentioning that the concierge at the hotel said that this time [October] of year is usually cloudy (particularly at night), hiding the aurora. The night I flew in was one scarce night where it was completely clear and calm – perfect for viewing the aurora borealis.
For what it’s worth: If you plan on watching the aurora borealis, build time into your schedule. Due to the nature of the weather and cloud cover, there’s a chance you may not see it on the first or second try. Also, Fairbanks, Alaska, and Iceland have better vantage points to view this stunning phenomenon.