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Clear skies in your Alaska? Look for Northern lights.

Alaska Dispatch
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
The milky way is colored by faint aurora at Tahneta pass in the early morning hours of November 13, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
Northern Lights, October 12, 2012
Courtesy Todd List
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
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
The Northern Lights dance above Tahneta pass in the early morning hours of November 13, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
Northern lights as seen from Talkeetna on Oct. 12, 2012.
Dora Miller 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
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
The Northern Lights dance above Sheep Mountain in the early morning hours of November 13, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
Northern lights as seen over Nikiski on Oct. 12, 2012.
Leslie Richards 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
A view of the northern lights from the International Space Station on Jan. 29, 2012.
NASA photo
The Northern Lights dance above Sheep Mountain in the early morning hours of November 13, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
The northern lights were strong enough on Oct. 12, 2012 to be seen even in the city lights of Anchorage.
Jacob Todd photo
Aurora dances above a residence in Bear Valley, on the south side of Anchorage, on Oct. 12, 2012.
Courtesy Chuck Berray
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
The Northern Lights dance above Sheep Mountain in the early morning hours of November 13, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
Northern Lights above Eagle River, with Denali in the background.
Courtesy Alaska's Nature
Aurora above Anchorage, Alaska, on Oct. 12, 2012.
Courtesy Chuck Berray
Photographer Trevor Gridley says he "caught this image on the way to work a while back" in Interior Alaska.
Trevor Gridley
Northern lights dance above the Knik river early morning November 8, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
The Northern Lights dance above southcentral Alaska skies on September 30, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
Aurora weaves under the Big Dipper constellation in Palmer, Alaska.10:30 p.m., Oct 12., 2012.
Courtesy Thom Swavely
Beautiful crazy colors captured in Alaska's Interior during the winter of 2013.
Trevor Gridley
Northern lights dance above the Knik river as the moon rises early morning November 8, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
The Northern Lights dance above southcentral Alaska skies on September 30, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
A view of the northern lights on Nov. 23, 2012 near Fox, Alaska.
Lucie Steiger photo
Northern Lights dance above Palmer on Dec 16, 2012.
Courtesy Thom Swavely
Northern Lights over North Pole, Alaska, November 1, 2012
Courtesy Lara Poirrier
Northern Lights above Alaska on September 30, 2012
Courtesy Melissa Wollman
A view of the northern lights on Nov. 23, 2012 near Fox, Alaska.
Lucie Steiger photo
Northern Lights dance above Palmer on Jan 15, 2013.
Courtesy Thom Swavely
Northern Lights over North Pole, Alaska, November 1, 2012
Courtesy Lara Poirrier
The northern lights, photographed in Fairbanks, Alaska. September 18, 2012
Courtesy Brandon Lovett
The northern lights on Nov. 23, seen just north of Fairbanks in the Steele Creek area.
Ed Gonzalez photo
Northern Lights dance above Palmer on Dec 16, 2012.
Courtesy Thom Swavely
Northern Lights over North Pole, Alaska, November 1, 2012
Courtesy Lara Poirrier
The northern lights, photographed in Fairbanks, Alaska. September 18, 2012
Courtesy Brandon Lovett
This image was taken at Chena Hot Springs Resort in Interior Alaska. (Image cropped from original)
Aaron Corbeil
The Northern Lights dance above Tahneta pass in the early morning hours of November 13, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
Northern Lights over North Pole, Alaska, November 1, 2012
Courtesy Lara Poirrier
The northern lights, photographed in Fairbanks, Alaska. September 18, 2012
Courtesy Brandon Lovett
The Northern Lights dance above Sheep Mountain in the early morning hours of November 13, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
Northern Lights over North Pole, Alaska, November 1, 2012
Courtesy Lara Poirrier
The northern lights, photographed in Fairbanks, Alaska. September 18, 2012
Courtesy Brandon Lovett
This image was captured just outside of Fairbanks at the pipeline viewpoint.
Trevor Gridley
Northern lights above O'Malley peak in Anchorage. May 1, 2013
Courtesy Todd Running
The Northern Lights dance above Sheep Mountain in the early morning hours of November 13, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
Northern Lights over North Pole, Alaska, November 1, 2012
Courtesy Lara Poirrier
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 above O'Malley peak in Anchorage. May 1, 2013
Courtesy Todd Running
The Northern Lights dance above Sheep Mountain in the early morning hours of November 13, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
Northern Lights over North Pole, Alaska, November 1, 2012
Courtesy Lara Poirrier
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 dance above North Pole on April 14, 2013
Courtesy Northern Source Images
The Northern Lights dance above Tahneta pass in the early morning hours of November 13, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
Northern Lights, October 12, 2012
Courtesy Todd List
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
Northern Lights dance above North Pole on April 14, 2013
Courtesy Northern Source Images
The Northern Lights dance above the Eureka Roadhouse in the early morning hours of November 13, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
Northern Lights, October 12, 2012
Courtesy Todd List
Aurora borealis shimmers over Delta Junction, Alaska, just after midnight on Thursday, Aug. 23. (More photos: Facebook.com/SebastianSaarloos)
Sebastian Saarloos photo

The University of Alaska Geophysical Institute forecasts moderate auroral activity across large parts of Alaska for both Saturday and Sunday night: "Weather permitting, moderate displays will be visible overhead from Barrow to as far south as Talkeetna and visible low on the horizon as far south as Bethel, Soldotna and southeast Alaska."

Unfortunately, weather alerts across most of the forecast area mean displays may not be visible.

Looking for aurora borealis in the Alaska sky is always a game of chance: Even nights predicted to be excellent for northern lights viewing don't always pan out. Naturally, clear skies are a must. Light pollution must be minimal. And, of course, the universe itself has to cooperate, as supercharged particles ejected from the sun interact with Earth's thermosphere 60-70 miles overhead to produce the unforgettable light shows.

Northern lights can often be difficult to spot, but as the sun builds toward its highest level of activity -- expected to peak in 2013 -- Alaskans get to enjoy the spectacular light show that begins millions of miles away.

How to photograph the aurora

Capturing the aurora borealis with a camera may seem complex, but it's a fun family-friendly activity that also encourages everyone to get outside. Finding good locations, forecast watching and camera handling are important for capturing ideal northern lights photographs.

For beginners, moonless nights and clear skies are best. The moon can work to one's advantage, though, lighting up the foreground and making a pleasing photograph. That said, full moons tend to be bright enough to overcome the lights, so try and plan your shoot for a week with less moon light.

Partly cloudy skies can also provide great conditions for depth in your aurora photos. This takes some practice once you view some of your photos you will be hooked and want to add to the experience.

Traditionally, good times for aurora viewing and photographing is between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. But don't bank on it: during strong solar storms aurora can be seen at all hours once the sky darkens.

More tips and tricks are available in our guide to photographing Alaska aurora borealis.

Send us your northern lights photos!