It's also important to remember that the area around the North Pole, which is one of the best viewing spots for the Northern Lights, is also an area that enjoys continuous daylight for up to six months. This happens between April and September, and it makes it impossible to see the Northern Lights.
The best way to see the Northern Lights is to make a plan. Because there are so many variables involved, use all the knowledge at your disposal. Lucky for you, the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks created the Auroral Forecast Page. Located on the Web, it shows up-to-the-minute satellite information on your chances of seeing the Northern Lights. You can choose your area -- North America, Alaska, Europe, north polar, south polar -- and the site will let you know the probability of visibility on a scale of zero to nine, with nine being the greatest chances. The forecasts are short-term, but the site also provides information on making long-term predictions (up to a month in advance). Of course, there are no guarantees.
Many people plan vacations around catching a glimpse of the Northern Lights. On the next page, we'll talk about some of the more interesting ways to see these colorful lights in the sky.