A trip to see the aurora borealis provides travelers with an unforgettable adventure. Unlike vacations featuring artificial thrills, the northern lights are a natural occurrence that has amazed people from all over the world for centuries. Here are facts that give you a reason to book a hotel where this display of nature is visible. 

Background on the Northern Lights

1. Why Do the Lights Appear?

Solar wind carries electrons and protons from the sun to the Earth's atmosphere. The aurora borealis is a phenomenon that occurs when those charged gas particles from the sun's atmosphere make contact with the magnetic fields at the Earth's North and South poles. The name aurora borealis comes from the Roman name Aurora, the goddess of dawn, and the Greek word boreas, referring to the north wind.

2. When Are They Visible?


The lights are visible in numerous locations across the Northern and Southern hemispheres. The northern auroral zone includes Alaska, northern Canada, Scandinavia, Iceland, the northern coast of Siberia, and Greenland's southern tip. The lights are always there, but their patterns and colors are never the same. When and where they are visible depends on the weather and atmospheric conditions.  

3. Why Are They Different Colors?

The northern lights are different colors because the types of gas particles that create them vary. The color seen most often is a light yellow-green. Other colors observers typically see are pink and a red and green mixture. Nitrogen atoms emit orange or red light, and oxygen atoms emit green light, but sometimes red. Pure blue or pure red light is unusual because it requires oxygen found 200 miles above Earth. 


If you want to book a hotel near a location to witness the northern lights in Alaska, choose Denali Totem Inn in Healy. Sitting at the doorstep of Denali National Park, this full-service hotel offers 27 comfortable rooms with queen-sized beds and excellent amenities, including a new state-of-the-art fitness room and sauna. Meals prepared from scratch daily, family-style dining, and helpful, courteous staff add to your enjoyment. Visit the website to learn more about their amenities, or call (907) 683-6500 for reservations or to ask questions.