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Category: Alaska Aurora “Chase” Outlook

Forecasts for aurora activity and weather conditions for viewing the aurora.

Alaska Cloud Outlook: April 4 – 10

I am a little late getting this posted. It’s been a busy few days! Solar activity continues to give us good chances of aurora! A filament erupted off the sun on Sunday (April 3) and is headed toward Earth. The official SWPC prediction is for impact on Wednesday (April 6) between 7am and 10am AKDT and continuing into the early morning hours of Thursday (April 7) before tailing off. We will have to wait to see what happens! The solar wind has started to taper off, based on projections, so aurora activity still remains possible but minor outside of the main auroral zone outside of the approaching CME from the filament. Fingers are crossed all across Alaska, I am sure, for a good show!


Much of the state is currently experiencing some cloud cover. Levels vary from thick clouds across the northern quarter of the state, to just some mid to upper-level clouds across the center third, and a mix of low to upper-level clouds across the south-central portion.

Anchorage | Valdez | Soldotna | Talkeetna | Glennallen

Unfortunately, much of the week will see cloudy skies continuing to prove aurora watching difficult. The area will continue to see a mix of clouds with occasional breaks throughout the period. The best viewing conditions appear to be Friday (April 8) night into early Saturday (April 9) morning with conditions improving significantly into Sunday (April 10) morning. Thus, the best chances for viewing activity will be Friday night to Sunday morning. There is still a chance of seeing activity in the area Wednesday and Thursday, but searching for breaks in the clouds will certainly be necessary.

Fairbanks | Delta Junction | Healy | Cantwell

Clouds will be problematic for the region through much of the week. Similar to the Anchorage area, expect a mix of clouds and breaks much of the week. Wednesday and Thursday may provide some breaks to see activity. Conditions will be decent for Friday and Saturday nights with clouds returning to the area ahead of the next weather system late Saturday evening and into Sunday morning. The best night for trying to view any aurora activity appears to be Friday night. However, the chance of several breaks in the clouds Wednesday through Friday means there could be limited opportunities to see a few peeks at the lights.

Happy chasing if you are out and about! Updates, if necessary, will be provided in the comments!

Alaska Cloud Outlook: March 28 – April 3

Solar activity will certainly be a topic of discussion during the week! There have been three M-class flares today (March 28) with two associated coronal mass ejections (CME). These are expected to start impacting Earth during the evening hours of Wednesday (March 30) and into the day on Thursday (March 31). The timing, as of this post, has G2 storm levels (Kp 6) expected between the hours of 7-10pm AKDT on Wednesday evening. This is a perfect time for Alaska to see a ramp up in solar wind for an early aurora event! Keep in mind, however, that these forecasts can be off by several hours. That said, it could be early Thursday morning before we actually see the effects. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and our eyes on the skies!


Much of the state is currently experiencing mostly cloudy conditions. The exception to this is the central portion of Alaska, including the Fairbanks area, seeing good skies right now. In fact, the skies look very clear on the Poker Flats camera as of this writing. It looks like we should see conditions improving a bit through mid-week and then clouds become a factor for the southern third of Alaska as we move into the weekend.

Anchorage | Valdez | Soldotna | Talkeetna | Glennallen

Expect improving conditions through Tuesday (March 29) evening and into Wednesday. As Wednesday evening progresses, high clouds will start to creep into the area beginning early Thursday morning. Thursday evening and into Friday (April 1) morning, clouds should start to clear out a bit before moving back into the region by mid-morning on Friday. Once clouds return Friday morning, they look to be an issue for viewing conditions Saturday (April 2) and Sunday (April 3). It does look like some decent breaks are possible Saturday evening and into Sunday morning, so conditions could certainly improve as the week progresses.

The best aurora viewing days, if the solar wind supports activity, look to be Tuesday evening through early Thursday morning and Friday evening into Saturday morning. Sunday still looks like there might be a chance for decent breaks in the clouds, so keep an eye out for forecast changes.

Fairbanks | Delta Junction | Healy | Cantwell

Conditions should remain relatively cloud free for much of the area through mid-week. Some mid and upper-level clouds will move through the area Wednesday and into Thursday, but high pressure will keep fair and mostly cloud-free conditions prevalent for the region for most of the week. This begins to change as we move into Sunday morning, with clouds beginning to increase from south to north as the day progresses.

The best aurora viewing days for this area are pretty much Monday evening through early Saturday morning. As clouds begin to increase on Saturday, it may be difficult to see anything Saturday evening into Sunday; however, breaks are certainly possible Saturday evening.

Happy chasing if you are out and about! Updates, if necessary, will be provided in the comments!

Alaska Cloud Outlook: March 21-27

The expected CME over the weekend panned out pretty good. The activity on the Poker Flats camera was great. Unfortunately, we dealt with a lot of cloud cover in the Anchorage area on Saturday night again. The current projections show very little in the way of density but a fairly steady elevated wind speed over the next several days. With that in mind, if skies are clear, keep an eye out for aurora activity. The increased wind speeds could provide the catalyst required for at least some activity.


Much of the state is currently under clear skies and fair conditions with just a few areas of lower clouds showing in the central part of the state. This will persist through Monday (March 21) and into early Tuesday (March 22) morning. As Tuesday morning begins, upper-level clouds will start creeping in from the southwest ahead of the next storm system and spread across the southeastern half of the state by early Wednesday (March 23) morning. Some breaks are possible across Anchorage, Valdez, and Fairbanks late Wednesday night and into early Thursday (March 24) morning; however, confidence on large breaks is very low. Unsettled conditions will persist through Friday (March 25) with conditions improving throughout the day on Saturday (March 26) and continuing through Sunday (March 27) evening.

For Anchorage and Valdez, expect the best seeing conditions for any aurora activity to be Monday night. Beginning early Tuesday, clouds will become a factor into Wednesday. There may be some breaks in the clouds Wednesday night and into Thursday morning before clouds return to dominate the skies Thursday and through Friday evening. Clouds begin to clear out during the day on Saturday and leave good skies for Saturday and Sunday nights. Thus, the best nights will be Monday, Saturday, and Sunday.

For the Fairbanks region, expect similar conditions a little delayed from the southern regions. Monday and Tuesday nights are looking to be good for seeing conditions with Wednesday through Friday not looking too great. Some breaks are possible Thursday and Friday nights before skies clear for Saturday and Sunday evening viewing chances. Thus, for Fairbanks, Monday, Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday look to be the best chances for good aurora viewing conditions if the data supports any activity.

Happy chasing if you are out and about! Updates, if necessary, will be provided in the comments!

Alaska Cloud Outlook: March 14-20

The current solar wind projection lines up fairly well with current conditions as it relates to density and wind speed. The Bz has been north (positive) for over a day now. With the elevated Bt and density levels, even with wind speeds a bit lower than anticipated, there is still a chance of decent aurora activity until levels drop. It all hinges on the Bz at this point. Best thing to do for the next day or two is to keep an eye on the Bz. If that starts to drop, our aurora chances increase significantly.


Current conditions show clouds over the northern and eastern portions of Alaska. The west, southwest, and south-central portions of the state look fairly good right now. The next storm system is moving in just south of the Aleutian Islands and looks to start impacting south-central Alaska early Wednesday (March 16) morning and into the Fairbanks area by mid-morning on Wednesday.

The storm system will stall out Wednesday and into Thursday (March 17), keeping an ample amount of moisture pumping in across much of the state. The Anchorage area could see some breaks late Thursday evening and into early Friday (March 18) morning, perhaps providing some quick glimpses of any aurora activity which may occur. However, clouds return before a possible reprieve Saturday (March 19) night and into Sunday (March 20) morning.

The viewing conditions in Fairbanks do not look much better, with conditions much the same: possible breaks Thursday night into Friday morning, ample cloud coverage through Saturday, and improving conditions late Saturday into Sunday early Sunday morning. The Valdez area looks promising Thursday night into Friday morning and Saturday night into Sunday morning. Otherwise, expect somewhat unsettled and cloudy conditions the rest of the week.

To sum up: Most areas will have excellent viewing conditions Monday and Tuesday (March 15) night with clouds on the rise into Wednesday. A few breaks may provide opportunities for viewing Thursday night into Friday morning with Friday night seeing an increase in cloud cover. The next best viewing opportunity, cloud-wise, looks to be Saturday night and into Sunday morning.

As always, I will provide any updates I can through the week in the comments. If nothing major changes, we’ll stick with what we’ve got above. Happy chasing and let’s hope for more breaks and clear skies than clouds!

Alaska Cloud Outlook: Mar 7-13

The solar wind projections have density decreasing and speed increasing over the next week. We just had a very nice wind stream pass Earth and it looks like another one is on the way. With lower densities, expect weak displays, overall, unless you are close to the auroral zone. Wind speeds being elevated still gives a decent chance of aurora activity if we continue to see southward Bz components pass through.


Clouds are on the rise in south-central Alaska tonight as we are on the northwest edge of a high pressure ridge. This is allowing our next storm system to pump vast amounts of moisture over the area. Expect this to continue for the next several days. For the central portion of the state, including Fairbanks, mid and upper-level clouds will continue to move into the area over the ridge to the west. This weather pattern will persist for much of the week. The northern portions of Alaska look to have great visibility for any activity through much of the week with just intermittent mid to upper-level clouds moving through at times.

The best shot for being able to see any activity for the southern third of the state will come Friday (Mar 11) night and into Saturday (Mar 12) morning once clouds begin to move out of the area. These good seeing conditions should persist into Sunday (Mar 13) evening and early Monday (Mar 14) morning. The middle portion of the state (Fairbanks) will see great conditions moving in Friday night and persist through Sunday. There is a chance of some upper-level clouds moving into the Fairbanks region late on Sunday, but conditions should be great for viewing!

To sum up: Most areas will fight clouds through the week. Anchorage will see the best chance for clear skies on Friday and Saturday night with Fairbanks having a good shot from Friday and well into Monday. As always, keep an eye on the skies and the forecast. Cloud conditions can change and you might just find a great hole to provide for some excellent aurora watching!

Alaska Cloud Outlook: Feb 28-Mar 6, 2022

Solar wind density will remain elevated the next day or two (5-10 p/cm3) before it is projected to fall off. Wind speed will also see a steady decline through the week. Aurora activity has been quite unpredictable the past few days, so definitely keep an eye on the solar wind data tonight/tomorrow. See the image below.


The weather pattern for Alaska looks like a roller coaster this next week. Monday (Feb 28) will see some high clouds through the central part of the state and low to mid-level clouds creeping in across the south-central portion. Skies should be somewhat decent for Monday and Tuesday (Mar 1) with low clouds being the main culprit. Breaks in the clouds should provide for occasional views. Cloud cover really starts to increase Wednesday morning (Mar 2) ahead of the next storm system.

The next storm system will bring abundant clouds to the state from the southwest. Fairbanks should enjoy pleasant viewing conditions until early morning on Thursday (Mar 3) with Anchorage seeing breaks in the clouds Thursday evening. The system is projected to push through fairly quickly to the north, so Anchorage will see clouds beginning to clear out Friday (Mar 4) afternoon while Fairbanks will start to see clouds on the rise. As the system pushes in from southwest to north-northeast, expect improving conditions for Anchorage while Fairbanks will see unsettled conditions through the weekend.

The best viewing conditions for Anchorage appear to be Monday (occasional breaks), Tuesday (occasional breaks), Saturday, and Sunday this week, with breaks in the clouds possible late Thursday and into Friday morning. Fairbanks looks to be best Tuesday (occasional breaks), Wednesday, breaks late Friday, and then pretty cloudy conditions the rest of the weekend.

Keep in mind, these forecasts can (and usually do) change for any period outside of the third day. If I notice anything significant change, I’ll post to the comments.

Alaska Cloud Outlook: Feb 21-27, 2022

Solar wind speeds are projected to remain elevated over the next week, in the 400-500 km/s range. Density, on the other hand, is projected to diminish. Current projections are off by about 5-8 p/cm3, so take it with a grain of salt at the moment. Just keep an eye on the density. Elevated wind speeds can mean a chance of seeing aurora, but lower densities mean the amount and vibrance of any activity may be low. See the image below.


The weather pattern for Alaska looks to be quite unsettled over the next week, unfortunately. A storm system over the Bering Sea will continue to push to the east over the next couple of days and exit the state on Wednesday (Feb 23). As it does, an area of high pressure (fair weather/clearing skies) will settle in for a short period. It looks like much of the state will see a chance for clearing in the skies from west to east starting early Tuesday (Feb 22).

Anchorage should see some sunshine/breaks in the clouds late in the evening Tuesday and into Wednesday. Wednesday actually looks like a pleasant day for Anchorage with some mid to upper-level clouds possible ahead of the next storm system. Wednesday night looks like a good chance for overall decent aurora viewing conditions in the area.

Fairbanks should see clouds starting to break late afternoon to early evening on Tuesday with conditions looking decent for Tuesday evening and Wednesday looks to be perfect for viewing aurora activity. As with Anchorage, Fairbanks will enjoy a beautiful day on Wednesday with a chance to see some patchy mid to upper-level clouds moving in late Wednesday and into Thursday (Feb 24) morning.

High pressure starts to break down across the area Thursday into Friday (Feb 25) as another storm system moves into Alaska from the south, followed by a second system late Friday and into Saturday (Feb 26). Conditions right now for Thursday through Sunday (Feb 27) look to be quite unsettled with a few breaks in the clouds possible Saturday and Sunday night.

Keep in mind, these forecasts can (and usually do) change for any period outside of the third day. If I notice anything significant change, I’ll post to the comments.

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