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What are the chances of seeing the northern lights in late September?


testerlady
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Real intense aurora that are worth seeing - close to zero.  Faint aurora that are much less worth seeing - very small chance.  I have been to Fairbanks in February just to photograph aurora.  They were great.

 

DON

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Just checked your cruise and it is a 7-day R/T going as far north as Skagway. At the end of Sept/early Oct you can expect about 8 hrs of total darkness, per day, in the Juneau/Skagway area. Therefore, as the previous poster noted, it is a possibility.

 

However, if the NL lights are present you require a clear night, which aren't overly common. Since you are sailing on a mega ship with lots of lights, the light pollution from the ship also reduces visibility of the NL & any stars visible.

 

In 2 full seasons in Alaska, spending 4 hrs in the Bridge every night, I saw them once. With many years on the BC Coast, I may have seen them weakly once. The chance of a pax seeing them is fairly slim, unless you want to remain out on deck every clear night.

 

As mentioned on another thread, unless Princess Captains have changed, the Bridge does not make pax cabin announcements, especially at night, unless an emergency.

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Alaska - Land of the Mid-Night Sun 

 

Thus presented with an oxymoron situation - the Sun completing with the Northern Lights.

Your cruise is at sea at night moving from port to port or perhaps a glacier field the next

day - the lights of ship don't help define the N L under those circumstances.

Sailing from port to port after 9 pm does help getting away from city scape lighting.

The best viewing point maybe if the direction of the ship is to the north to be on the

forward most deck (perhaps under the bridge - a blackout zone so to speak). If the ships

course is southbound then something off the stern (aft) (maybe the Promenade walking

track) or the top most deck without cover. Clouds and Moon lit seas are not going to be

of much help. Early and late season are better than prime mid summer. That Sun now

lower in the sky - longer hours of darkness.

Only the Alaska Maritime Ferry or a smaller cruise ship sailing at the start of or very late

season would have the best opportunity for viewing.

 

One idea to contact Guest Services and make a request of the Bridge to alert you of

any Aurora Borealis activity - maybe the crew could dim the lights for short period of

time to enjoy this fantastic display. A general announcement over the PA would not be

necessary just leave your cabin phone number - there maybe others as interested.

As mention above clouds and the MOON will have a BIG impact on the viewing opportunities.

 

The display of the N L is ever better in remote areas of land with no light interference.

donaldsc noted having success at Fairbanks which is a better site than Anchorage.

Land based tours would be an advantage over cruising at sea.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

The Northern Lights can be spectacular in September.  One of the best displays I've seen was in Glacier Bay in early September.  However, I was on land with no light pollution.  The ships are really bad for viewing the skies at night.  It's impossible to find a dark corner on deck although there may be a few balcony cabins where it's dark enough.  
 

There will be no announcements of NL over the PA, nor is it likely guest services will do wake-up calls.

Edited by wolfie11
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11 hours ago, don't-use-real-name said:

One idea to contact Guest Services and make a request of the Bridge to alert you of

any Aurora Borealis activity - maybe the crew could dim the lights for short period of

time to enjoy this fantastic display. A general announcement over the PA would not be

necessary just leave your cabin phone number - there maybe others as interested.

As mention above clouds and the MOON will have a BIG impact on the viewing opportunities.

 

 

Unfortunately, the Bridge Officers do not make phone calls to pax cabins, especially at night.

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13 hours ago, don't-use-real-name said:

Alaska - Land of the Mid-Night Sun 

 

 

 

One idea to contact Guest Services and make a request of the Bridge to alert you of

any Aurora Borealis activity - maybe the crew could dim the lights for short period of

time to enjoy this fantastic display. A general announcement over the PA would not be

necessary just leave your cabin phone number - there maybe others as interested.

As mention above clouds and the MOON will have a BIG impact on the viewing opportunities.

 

The display of the N L is ever better in remote areas of land with no light interference.

donaldsc noted having success at Fairbanks which is a better site than Anchorage.

Land based tours would be an advantage over cruising at sea.

 

 

 

As per Heidi13 - the job of the bridge is to run the ship and not to notify passengers.

 

My comment re Fairbanks was that I was there is February not in September and also said that I was in Chena Hot Springs which is outside of Fairbanks and has very dark skies.  People go there in the winter just for aurora and most of us stay there for several days.

 

DON

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Thanks everyone. I kind of thought it would be a long shot. Our original trip this year was a land/sea trip starting in Fairbanks with a NL excursion. Maybe next year.

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On 5/25/2021 at 6:02 PM, testerlady said:

Thanks everyone. I kind of thought it would be a long shot. Our original trip this year was a land/sea trip starting in Fairbanks with a NL excursion. Maybe next year.

 

You are right but there was a news article today - https://weatherboy.com/earth-being-blasted-by-solar-flare-today/ - that said that the earth will be blasted by a major solar storm.  Who knows?  You might just luck out on your cruise and get a really really intense solar storm.

 

DON

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We were on a Celebrity cruise the first week of September in 2019 and were incredibly lucky to see the aurora borealis.  The ship's captain actually announced they were visible at about 10:30-11:00 pm (he even made the announcement in the cabins, but nobody seemed to mind!)  He turned off lights on the upper deck so people could see them.  They were pretty amazing!

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  • 1 month later...

We saw them on our first Alaska cruise. The date was August 28, 2000. It was about 9:00 pm (or  a bit later?) and the Celebrity Galaxy  Captain announced it. (Finally, because I was the first to see them, LOL!)

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