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Aurora borealis forecast to bedazzle Alaska skies

Alaska Dispatch
Northern lights above O'Malley peak in Anchorage. May 1, 2013
Courtesy Todd Running
Northern lights above O'Malley peak in Anchorage. May 1, 2013
Courtesy Todd Running
Northern Lights dance above North Pole on April 14, 2013
Courtesy Northern Source Images
Northern Lights dance above North Pole on April 14, 2013
Courtesy Northern Source Images
On the night of March 16, 2013, the northern lights were out in force across Alaska. This photo was taken from Eureka Lodge between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Loren Holmes photo
On the night of March 16, 2013, the northern lights were out in force across Alaska. This photo was taken from Eureka Lodge between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Loren Holmes photo
On the night of March 16, 2013, the northern lights were out in force across Alaska. This photo was taken from Eureka Lodge between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Loren Holmes photo
A view of the northern lights from the International Space Station on Jan. 29, 2012.
NASA photo
North Pole and Fairbanks got a nice light show early March 3,2013. For about 45 minutes the aurora ebbed and flowed in the sky. Lara Poirrier of Northern Source Images was able to catch this photo.
Lara Poirrier, Northern Source Images
Photographer Trevor Gridley says he "caught this image on the way to work a while back" in Interior Alaska.
Trevor Gridley
Beautiful crazy colors captured in Alaska's Interior during the winter of 2013.
Trevor Gridley
Northern Lights dance above Palmer on Dec 16, 2012.
Courtesy Thom Swavely
Northern Lights dance above Palmer on Jan 15, 2013.
Courtesy Thom Swavely
Northern Lights dance above Palmer on Dec 16, 2012.
Courtesy Thom Swavely
The Northern Lights dance above Tahneta pass in the early morning hours of November 13, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
The Northern Lights dance above Sheep Mountain in the early morning hours of November 13, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
The Northern Lights dance above Sheep Mountain in the early morning hours of November 13, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
The Northern Lights dance above Sheep Mountain in the early morning hours of November 13, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
The Northern Lights dance above Tahneta pass in the early morning hours of November 13, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
The Northern Lights dance above the Eureka Roadhouse in the early morning hours of November 13, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
The milky way is colored by faint aurora at Tahneta pass in the early morning hours of November 13, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
The Northern Lights dance above Tahneta pass in the early morning hours of November 13, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
The Northern Lights dance above Sheep Mountain in the early morning hours of November 13, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
The Northern Lights dance above Sheep Mountain in the early morning hours of November 13, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
The Northern Lights dance above Sheep Mountain in the early morning hours of November 13, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
Northern lights dance above the Knik river early morning November 8, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
Northern lights dance above the Knik river as the moon rises early morning November 8, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
Northern Lights over North Pole, Alaska, November 1, 2012
Courtesy Lara Poirrier
Northern Lights over North Pole, Alaska, November 1, 2012
Courtesy Lara Poirrier
Northern Lights over North Pole, Alaska, November 1, 2012
Courtesy Lara Poirrier
Northern Lights over North Pole, Alaska, November 1, 2012
Courtesy Lara Poirrier
Northern Lights over North Pole, Alaska, November 1, 2012
Courtesy Lara Poirrier
Northern Lights over North Pole, Alaska, November 1, 2012
Courtesy Lara Poirrier
Northern Lights over North Pole, Alaska, November 1, 2012
Courtesy Lara Poirrier
Northern Lights, October 12, 2012
Courtesy Todd List
Northern Lights, October 12, 2012
Courtesy Todd List
Northern Lights, October 12, 2012
Courtesy Todd List
Northern lights as seen from Talkeetna on Oct. 12, 2012.
Dora Miller photo
Northern lights as seen over Nikiski on Oct. 12, 2012.
Leslie Richards photo
The northern lights were strong enough on Oct. 12, 2012 to be seen even in the city lights of Anchorage.
Jacob Todd photo
Northern Lights above Eagle River, with Denali in the background.
Courtesy Alaska's Nature
The Northern Lights dance above southcentral Alaska skies on September 30, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
The Northern Lights dance above southcentral Alaska skies on September 30, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
Northern Lights above Alaska on September 30, 2012
Courtesy Melissa Wollman
The northern lights, photographed in Fairbanks, Alaska. September 18, 2012
Courtesy Brandon Lovett
The northern lights, photographed in Fairbanks, Alaska. September 18, 2012
Courtesy Brandon Lovett
The northern lights, photographed in Fairbanks, Alaska. September 18, 2012
Courtesy Brandon Lovett
The northern lights, photographed in Fairbanks, Alaska. September 18, 2012
Courtesy Brandon Lovett
Aurora chasing is always a game of chance: even nights predicted for good viewing oftentimes don't pan out. The sky must be clear and you must be far from city lights. Oh - and the universe itself must cooperate, too.
Brandon Lovett photo
Northern lights blaze over Alaska all year long. However, come May, June and July, much of the state is bathed in 20-24 hours of sunlight, making the aurora difficult to watch.
Brandon Lovett photo
Northern lights activity increases with solar storms. This year has seen several massive solar storms, and the aurora borealis viewing has in turn been pretty amazing over Alaska, particularly earlier in 2012.
Brandon Lovett photo
Aurora borealis shimmers over Delta Junction, Alaska, just after midnight on Thursday, Aug. 23. (More photos: Facebook.com/SebastianSaarloos)
Sebastian Saarloos photo
Location is a key factor when preparing to photograph northern lights. As aurora activity increases it normally starts from the east as Earth rotates into the dancing lights.
Brandon Lovett photo
Traditionally, good times for aurora viewing and photographing in Alaska come between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. But during strong solar storms aurora can be seen at all hours once the sky darkens.
Brandon Lovett photo
When photographing northern lights, controlling the movement of your camera is paramount. Remote shutter release is one way to keep movement minimal.
Brandon Lovett photo
Aurora dances above a residence in Bear Valley, on the south side of Anchorage, on Oct. 12, 2012.
Courtesy Chuck Berray
Aurora above Anchorage, Alaska, on Oct. 12, 2012.
Courtesy Chuck Berray
Aurora weaves under the Big Dipper constellation in Palmer, Alaska.10:30 p.m., Oct 12., 2012.
Courtesy Thom Swavely
A view of the northern lights on Nov. 23, 2012 near Fox, Alaska.
Lucie Steiger photo
A view of the northern lights on Nov. 23, 2012 near Fox, Alaska.
Lucie Steiger photo
The northern lights on Nov. 23, seen just north of Fairbanks in the Steele Creek area.
Ed Gonzalez photo
This image was taken at Chena Hot Springs Resort in Interior Alaska. (Image cropped from original)
Aaron Corbeil
This image was captured just outside of Fairbanks at the pipeline viewpoint.
Trevor Gridley

Look to the skies Alaskans: aurora borealis were forecast to dance across the skies for most of the state, Wednesday. Weather permitting, northern lights should be visible from Barrow to Anchorage and Juneau, and low on the horizon as far south as King Salmon and Prince Rupert.

The Aurora Forecast at the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks gives tonight’s aurora displays an “Active” rating, with 4 out of 10, the only night expected to produce dazzling displays through Nov. 13.

And with daylights savings ending last Sunday, the sun is setting even earlier, allowing for plenty of evening hours to witness the spectacle in the skies.

Amy Hartley, Information Officer at the Geophysical Institute, says that this is the first time in a few weeks that that the aurora is forecasted to be active. "Tonight’s activity should be something to go out and watch for," she says.

Hartley emphasizes that to improve your chances of seeing the lights, make sure to head outside of city limits so no light pollution is obstructing your view. Beyond that, wish for clear skies.

Luckily for Fairbanks and Anchorage, weather forecasts look favorable to both urban centers. In the middle Tanana Valley, including Fairbanks and North Pole, skies are expected to be clear, with some patchy fog and flurries. But bundle up – low temperatures of 15 to 26 below are forecast.

Anchorage is expected to be clear, with low temperatures 5 to 10 above. The Susitna Valley, including Talkeetna, is also seeing clear skies, with lows around zero degrees.

Barrow and Kotzebue and forecast to be mostly cloudy, while in Nome, a cloudy day is expected to clear up a little tonight.

Juneau is also expected to ease up its cloud cover this evening, with sun forecasted for Thursday.

Check out the most up-to-date forecast for your area, here.

This could be a great night to brush up on your aurora-capturing photo skills; here’s a handy guide to help you snap a great shot.

…And then Send us your photos!