Category: Scenery

Northern Lights

Aurora Borealis is defined in the dictionary as a natural electrical phenomenon characterized by the appearance of streamers of reddish or greenish light in the sky, usually near the northern or southern magnetic pole.

When we set our dream on Alaska we have been hopeful to see the Aurora (Northern Lights), all of last winter when we would see a glow in the night sky, (there is a lot of night sky to watch) we would eagerly look for the Aurora. Some mornings as I drove home from my normal job, at the hospital I would watch the horizon and wonder is that glow the lights or just city glow.

This month we were able to catch the beauty of the Aurora just a few miles from the house, and can honestly say now that when you visit us in the winter months, (dark time) you can see the Aurora, from one of decks here at Our Alaskan Dream, when the night is dark enough and the sky is clear.

With the excitement of finally being able to see the Aurora myself, I thought I would share a bit of history related to the Aurora:

The bright dancing lights of the aurora are actually collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earth’s atmosphere. The lights are seen above the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres. They are known as ‘Aurora borealis’ in the north and ‘Aurora australis’ in the south..
Auroral displays appear in many colours although pale green and pink are the most common. https://www.northernlightscentre.ca

The connection between the Northern Lights and sunspot activity has been suspected since about 1880. Thanks to research conducted since the 1950’s, we now know that electrons and protons from the sun are blown towards the earth on the ‘solar wind’. (Note: 1957-58 was International Geophysical Year and the atmosphere was studied extensively with balloons, radar, rockets and satellites. Rocket research is still conducted by scientists at Poker Flats, a facility under the direction of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks – see web page http://www.gi.alaska.edu/

Aurora borealis’, the lights of the northern hemisphere, means ‘dawn of the north’. ‘Aurora australis’ means ‘dawn of the south’. In Roman myths, Aurora was the goddess of the dawn. \par Many cultural groups have legends about the lights. In medieval times, the occurrences of auroral displays were seen as harbingers of war or famine. The Maori of New Zealand shared a belief with many northern people of Europe and North America that the lights were reflections from torches or campfires.

The Menominee Indians of Wisconsin believed that the lights indicated the location of manabai’wok (giants) who were the spirits of great hunters and fishermen. The Inuit of Alaska believed that the lights were the spirits of the animals they hunted: the seals, salmon, deer and beluga whales. Other aboriginal peoples believed that the lights were the spirits of their people.

During the dark time, here in Alaska I often seen a soft hue of green in the wee hours of night, I am glad to understand the history of the beauty that I see now. We will continue to try to catch the Aurora while it is dancing across that norther sky, in all its glory, until then when I look up as I drive home in the middle of the night will follow the lead of the Inuit and smile as the spirits of the animals are smiling down on me, guiding me home to Our Alaskan Dream

Total Darkness

When we moved to Alaska, there were many questions from friends and family, we still get many questions, about weather, but usually about how do you handle it being dark all the time. We try to explain that only a small part of Alaska experiences the total darkness, and total daylight, Based on the season.

We have both worked shift work and were not concerned about the long dark hours, that we were sure to experience, as with many people there was uncertainty about what it would be like to live through it. As it stands right now sunrise is just after 8am and sunset about 5 pm, we lose about 5 minutes a day.

This week we marked the end of daylight in the most northern part of Alaska, for the next 65 days, for the town of UtqiaÄ¡vik, (Barrow). According to an update by the US Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management, Alaska, one of the largest states in the US, is renowned as strange and mysterious as it now enters into 24-hour darkness throughout the winters. Alaska’s north and south poles are geographically located as such that the arctic community had their last sunset at 1:29 pm AKST (5:29 pm ET) on November 15 and will now see the sunrise at 1:16 pm AKST (5:16 pm ET) straight on January 22.

On the flip side, what is it like to have 24 hours of daylight, as with the darkness, to land of the midnight sun exists in the far reaching parts of Alaska, not the entire state, although it is an odd experience to be able to hike and explore at 1am during the summer.

According to a report by The Weather Channel, the Alaskans in UtqiaÄ¡vik (Barrow) experience two months of prolonged daylights during the summer solstice. The sun in the mysterious town is overhead for 24 hours, all through the day, including in the nights. This happens due to the location of the Arctic region on the globe towards the extreme northern pole, which sets the sun at only 6 degrees below the horizon. This gives rise to a civil twilight, the phenomenon that gives the impression of daytime in the town round the clock.

The adventures of Alaska are unending, and with each season we experience here, we continue to find things that astound us and give cause to believe that Alaska has something for everyone. Be it during the never ending night, or the days of the midnight sun. Plan your visit soon, #OurAlaskanDream @ouralaskandream would love to direct you in a perfect adventure to meet your needs.

Termination Dust

If you search for the term, you wont find a definition in any of the normal places. Termination dust is an Alaskan term, that came about in the 1940, during the building boom in Alaska, The construction workers called the snowfall each year “termination dust” because it meant the end of their jobs would be terminated for the season. Now, it is used to refer to the first snowfall signaling the end of the summer season.

by September our fall is in full swing, and the average high temperature is about 55°F/12°C, and it will drop down to an average of 42°F/5.5°C in the evenings. It is rare, but occasionally we will get some snow in September, but it usually melts quickly. The earliest recorded snow in Anchorage happened on September 20th. Most of the time we get our first main snowfall around the middle of October, and the kids expect to Trick or Treating in several inches of snow.

The snow will continue to fall and accumulate until late March or early April, and you can usually depend on it being gone by mid to late April. Over the course of our winters, we will see an average of 74.6 inches of snowfall, and we can have anywhere from 3 to 10 plus inches. In fact, out of 365 days of the year, we will have at least 3 inches of snow for 128.5 days, and for 149 days of the year, we have at least 1 inch of snow!. So for five months, Anchorage has on average at least 1 inch of snow on the ground! Most of the accumulation happens between January and early March.

Don’t let the termination dust, stop you from visiting Alaska, and #ouralaskandream, there is still so much to do in winter season. From Skiing at, Skeetawk. Ice Skate on Rabbit Slough and Wasilla, Sled in Hatcher Pass, just 10 minutes from Our Alaskan Dream, Take a ride on the Alaska Railroad. You don’t want to miss the Iditarod (and Running of the Reindeer), the Oosik classic ski race.

Book with us now, you don’t want to miss out