By staying longer in Alaska, we were hoping for an opportunity to the the Aurora Borealis, also known as The Northern Lights. One of the better areas in Alaska to see it is in Fairbanks. We were there in early August, but it was still light out until midnight, and then stayed in twilight until sunrise. It was just never dark enough to view it while we were there.
Skagway is 700 miles south of Fairbanks, and the first thing that surprised us when we arrived here in mid-August was how dark it got after 10 pm. It was the first time since early June that we actually had dark skies.
We have had mostly cloudy (and rainy) days and nights here in Skagway, so we were not sure we would see any lights until we left Skagway and headed back into Canada. We have downloaded the app, My Aurora Forecast, and it said Saturday night in Skagway was a 6 on the KP scale (goes from 0 to 9). This is the highest it has been since we arrived, so we were slightly optimistic, if the clouds would stay away. Dan went and looked at the sky after 10 pm, but did not see anything.
Around 10:30 pm, I heard our neighbor Tom yelling “the lights are out!” So we grabbed our cell phones and headed outside the RV for an amazing show! If you want more information on what causes the lights, check out The Northern Lights Center information page here https://www.northernlightscentre.ca/northernlights.html
To put the photos in perspective, this is where we were standing, in the employee campground. I took these two photos around 6:15 this morning.
Here’s our light show last night, even with it being partly cloudy. All the photos are taken with our IPhones.
If you look closely at the photo below, the Big Dipper is also present in the lower right hand corner.
Another highlight of our Saturday was a surprise visit from our friends Dave, Marilyn, Jim and Carol from Yuma! They were on an Alaskan cruise to celebrate Dave and Marilyn’s 60th wedding anniversary! Their boat arrived in Skagway for the day, and they called Tom when they arrived in town to pick them up. It was a complete surprise for all of us! We had a wonderful visit, and then Tom drove them back to the docks.
It was a truly special day! We hope to see the lights again, before we enter back in the lower 48. It would be nice to see them on the horizon next time.
Quote for the day: “It is good to feel small beneath the sparkling northern lights, small beside the mighty river. Nature is so close to us up here. My troubles and difficulties just shrivel up. I like being insignificant.” – Asa Larsson