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Northern Lights of Alaska


Mission, TX
In addition to the beautiful scenery of Alaska, we also have another natural wonder to capture a person's imagination, the Aurora Borealis, better known as the northern lights. These can be seen in many places in the US (and the world) but nothing like Alaska and the further north, the better they are. Actually, for the best displays I saw on the arctic coast, I looked to the south but gee, we were just one or two fuel tanks on a C-185 south of the North Pole anyway. A friend of mine out of Point Barrow was the first to land a C-185 at the pole.

Almost all areas in Alaska have very little pollution and because of this, the colors are fantastic. In the following links, you will not get the feeling of how the patterns whip all across the sky much like a balloon filled with air and released to zip around or a water hose releasing high pressure water whipping around. The colors and shapes are always changing with every color of a rainbow being displayed.

At one point at Prudhoe Bay when I took a couple of years off from my airline to set up the first tour program of the oil field and manage a hotel in my spare time, I was at the Sagavanirktok River, commonly called the Sag River, picking up a load of fresh water for the hotel in a Peterbuilt truck with a heated van with a 2,500 gal tank inside. Temperature was probably 20 or 30 below zero, no wind and clear. When I was about half loaded, the most unbelievable display I had ever seen started up. It was so fantastic I shut the truck down and just laid on the snow covered ice (thank goodness for arctic clothing) and watched for maybe an hour or so. The display was so bright it was like a full moon and a full moon in Alaska seems twice as big as anywhere else. I could even hear the cracking of electrical particles at times. Not another sound anywhere around.
Even to this day some 30 years later, I can still see the display that night.
I have watched several clips on the Internet and TV of what the guys in space can see when good displays are active. What they see from space is nothing compared to what they look like from the arctic of Alaska and Canada and I am sure it is the same all over the world north of the Arctic Circle.

I tried to upload some of my photos but with dial up, I time out before completed so we will have to use some links. I did get a couple posted in the gallery but this will work OK.

One of the best is



World wide with lots of reasons about why it happens. Check areas on the right side.
Having been raised as a child in the Lower 48 far from snow, St. Elwo's fire and the Northern Lights my first encounter was mind boggling. Something akin to what I imagine LSD users of those days saw, I guess.

It was darker than old Hailey's eight ball one late afternoon in my first winter and I had just leveled off at 6500 feet climbing out of Kiana for Kotzebue in a Cessna single. The few lights of ORV (Noorvik) off to the left barely pierced the inky blackness of a moonless Arctic dark.

After a few minutes I started to detect a slowly growing amount of "light" and was puzzled as to what new phenomenom I was experiencing now. Over the next ten minutes the "lights" increased in intensity and size and by now I recognized them as the Auroura Borealis, which I seemed to have remembered from high school science or something.

Practically breathless and in awe of the spectacle unfolding before my very eyes, it took me a few minutes to realize that night had turned in to DAY. The first sighting of my life turned out to be one of the most spectacular!! I actually turned off all the interior lights and could stioll read CLEARLY all my instruments, and looking down, as if in daylight could count the individual caribou as they meandered below.

WHAT an introduction.