If you're planning an aurora-viewing trip, make sure not to schedule it in the middle of summer. You need darkness to see the northern lights, and places in the auroral zone have precious little of it during the summer months.
You also want clear skies. Winter and springtime are generally less cloudy than autumn in and around the northern auroral zone, so a trip between December and April makes sense, said Charles Deehr, a professor emeritus and aurora forecaster at the University of Alaska Fairbanks' Geophysical Institute. Ideally, time your trip to coincide with the new moon, and make sure to get away from city lights when it's time to look up, he added.
"Dress warmly, plan to watch the sky between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. local time, although an active period can occur anytime during the dark hours," Deehr wrote in the Geophysical Institute's guide to aurora viewing, which has lots of great information. "Active periods are typically about 30 minutes long, and occur every two hours, if the activity is high. The aurora is a sporadic phenomenon, occurring randomly for short periods or perhaps not at all."
You can get an idea of how active the northern lights are likely to be in your area by keeping tabs on a short-term aurora forecast, such as the one provided by the Geophysical Institute 

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