There's only one thing that brought me out in the cold in the middle of the night when I lived in Alaska.  The Northern Lights are something you can watch on your TV or computer, but seeing them firsthand should be on your bucket list.

AN MORTEN BJOERNBAKK/AFP/Getty Images

Luckily for those that may never be able to make the trip to the Great White North in the dead of winter, the Northern Lights aren't necessarily found exclusively in remote spots north of the Arctic Circle.

The first winter I lived in Alaska was a particularly mild and wet winter.  There were several times throughout that first winter that it was warmer in Alaska than back in Texas.  I also heard from family in Oklahoma that the Northern Lights were being seen as far south as Oklahoma and Texas.

I was astonished.  I'd moved 4500 miles north, and now the Northern Lights were being found south of me.  It wasn't until my 2nd winter in Alaska that I happened to be coming home from work after dark (that could have meant it was 4pm) when I saw the Northern Lights for the first time.

I tried to describe it to friends, but all I could say is that it looked like a multi-colored gas flame blowing in the wind.  I couldn't get it on video because this was before the days where smartphones could be found in every pocket.  Hi-8 video doesn't show the definition well, so that was a complete and utter fail.

Thanks to improvements in video, internet & cameras in general, you can get a bit closer to the actual sight of this incredible natural event that occurs when solar winds hit our atmosphere.  It's simply beautiful, and this National Geographic video captures a great Northern Lights display in Alaska.