Alaska has been one of our favorite places to visit. Unfortunately it's always been during the summer when we have visited and during the summer, the days are very long and the nights short and not very dark. Not the ideal conditions for observing the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis.
The phenomenon is a light display that dances in the sky. It has something to do with the magnetosphere and solar influence and charged neutrons and protons. I don't understand it all but I would love to see it for myself. Besides Alaska, there are several other popular places for observing the lights--one of them being Iceland. As I've already posted, we are planning a trip to Iceland and hope to experience the Northern Lights at some point in our travels.
The farther north you are the more apt you are to see them. Countries like Iceland, Norway, Finland, Russia, Denmark, Sweden and Northern Canada are some of the best places to visit if you are looking for the Northern Lights.
Fairbanks, Ketchikan, and Anchorage offer lots of different ways to search for the lights. You can take an Arctic Cruise, fly over the Arctic Circle or soak in the hot springs near Fairbanks while you watch them. When I was researching a while back I remember running across a place where you can stay and someone on Northern Lights watch will call you when they appear and you can observe them from a windowed shelter.
In Lapland in the northernmost part of Finland, the lights are called fox fire after the local legend that claims a fox's tail caught fire and swished through the sky causing the lights.
Sweden seems to offer quite a few options including Tornetrask Lake where its unique microclimate offers clear skies for viewing.
Tromso is the most popular spot for viewing in Norway. I remember seeing a lot of literature there advertising Northern Lights tours when we stopped there during a cruise.
Smarter Travel .com has an article that lists many of the spots for viewing the Northern Lights if you are interested in picking out a spot. Not sure I'd want to watch them in Russia but the other places all sound good. If we strike out in Iceland, we'll have to try again somewhere else. After all, the Northern Lights are on the bucket list. We'll even brave the cold to see them.