Why Now Is The Time To See The Northern Lights (PHOTOS)

09/24/2012 04:22pm ET

Though the beginning of the school year and the resurgence of work may tempt desk-bound travelers to dream of sunny escapes, the late September sky has more to offer than the dregs of summer sun. This is the right time of year to head north and witness one of the world's most magisterial sights, the Northern lights, as they illuminate the arctic.

The simple argument in favor of northerly travel is twofold. Firstly, the summer light that keeps the northern night at bay is finally receding. Secondly, while the lights are visible through winter, the cold can quickly become unbearable.

The more complicated case for hoping the next plane to Anchorage involves the Earth's orbit, which places it in a solar activity-heavy zone in March and September, meaning the electromagnetic displays are more colorful and larger.

Travelers in America would do well to head to Alaska and take in the night time display while staying in beautiful Denali. The best European option for Aurora chasers is likely Lapland, the vast, frozen wilderness spanning Scandinavia.

The Alaskan Aurora