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Alaska SEPTEMBER 2023

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Alaska  Itinerary  2023

        Fly To Anchorage

        Native Museum

        Drive to Seward

        Wildlife refuge


        Boat trip  to Aialik Glacier kyaking

        Drive to Homer

        Seaplane to Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park

        Helicopter to Lake Clark National Park 

        Drive back to Anchorage

        Dog driving  on way to Denali view

        Fly to Fairbanks    

        Northern Lights

        Fly home




The wildlife of Alaska is both diverse and abundant. The Alaskan Peninsula provides an important habitat for fish, mammals, reptiles, and birds. At the top of the food chain are the bears. Alaska contains about 70% of the total North American brown bear population and the majority of the grizzly bears. as well as black bears and Kodiak bears. In winter, polar bears can be found in the Kuskokwim DeltaSt. Matthew Island, and at the southernmost portion of St. Lawrence Island. Other major mammals include moose and cariboubisonwolves and wolverinesfoxesotters and beavers. Fish species are extensive, including: salmongraylingschar, rainbow and lake trout, northern pike, halibutpollock, and burbot. The bird population consists of hundreds of species, including: bald eaglesowlsfalconsravensducksgeeseswans, and the passerines. Sea lions, seals, sea otters, and migratory whales are often found close to shore and in offshore waters. The Alaskan waters are home to two species of turtles, the leatherback sea turtle and the green sea turtle. Alaska has two species of frogs, the Columbia spotted frog and wood frog, plus two introduced species, the Pacific tree frog and the red-legged frog.[1] The only species of toad in Alaska is the western toad. There are over 3,000 recorded species of marine macroinvertebrates inhabiting the marine waters, the most common being the various species of shrimpcrablobster, and sponge.

Alaska Native Culture

The Alaska Native Heritage Center (ANHC) is a living cultural center located in Anchorage, Alaska that promotes active observance of Alaska Native culture and traditions. As the only statewide cultural and education center dedicated to celebrating all cultures and heritages, ANHC serves as a statewide resource for Alaska Natives from birth until Elder, and we support and celebrate Alaska Natives from all of Alaska’s Native cultures, including Iñupiaq, St. Lawrence Island Yupik, Athabascan, Eyak, Haida, Tsimshian, Tlingit, Unangax̂, Alutiiq/Sugpiaq, Yup’ik, and Cup’ik. 

Through permanent collections, life-sized village sites, and immersive educational programs, ANHC creates immersive experiences that promote understanding of our rich and diverse Cultures.

Small kin-based bands were the predominant form of social organization, although seasonal gatherings of larger groups occurred at favoured fishing locales. Moose, caribou, beavers, waterfowl, and fish were taken, and plant foods such as berries, roots, and sap were gathered. In winter people generally resided in snug semisubterranean houses built to withstand extreme weather; summer allowed for more mobility and the use of tents or lean-tos. Snowshoes, toboggans, and fur clothing were other common forms of material culture.

At the dawn of the 16th century CE, as the European conquest of the Americas began, indigenous peoples resided throughout the Western Hemisphere. They were soon decimated by the effects of epidemic disease, military conquest, and enslavement, and, as with other colonized peoples, they were subject to discriminatory political and legal policies well into the 20th, and even the 21st, century. Nonetheless, they have been among the most active and successful native peoples in effecting political change and regaining their autonomy in areas such as education, land ownership, religious freedom, the law, and the revitalization of traditional culture.


Northern Lights 

The aroura typically runs with a strength Kp from 1-2. At that level, the light intensity is a little brighter than the Milky Way and appears B&W to the naked eye. An exposure of 15sec ISO6400 with a f2 lens shows a full color aroura. If there is a major solar event, then  intensity rises to Kp = 5 or greater and is visible in full color. 


As a result "dark sky" conditions with no moon are key to seeing a typical aroura, which is a 4-5 day window every month.  In addition, there needs to be minimal clouds. Seeing the aroura requires a luck, and a visible color aroura a lot of luck. 


There are forecasting tools that attempt to predict aroura strength. My tests suggest at best a 2-3 forecast window. The satellite data gives a decent 24 hour forecast that includes strong aroura events.


Forecasting the aurora on different time scales can be done in different ways. The maximum in geomagnetic disturbance (Kp) lasts 1-2 nights.  

  • 15-45 Minutes: By measuring the solar wind and interplanetary magnetic field upstream of Earth it is possible to forecast the aurora quite accurately but only with a short lead time of 15-45 minutes.

  • Hours to Days: It is possible to predict geomagnetic activity and aurora a day or so in advance by detecting solar coronal holes on the sun and Coronal Mass Ejections (CME) near the sun.  as these coronal holes or CMES leave the sun, it is possible to predict their path to determine if they will impact Earth.  

  • 27 Days: Active regions and Coronal Holes can last for many months and as the sun rotates, these active regions will repeatedly be directed towards Earth.  

  • Years: Solar activity waxes and wanes on an approximate 11-year cycle.

Need to check every night and have batteries charged just in case there is a strong outburst. 

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Dark skies map. As soon as we leave Anchorage should OK.


                           Time lapse                       Airplane view

        Kp levels for the aroura photographs. Alaska is UTC - 8 hrs

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