The Best Places to See the Northern Lights

Unless you’ve been lucky enough to live in one of the following areas, you’ve likely never seen aurora borealis, known as the northern lights. Caused by a reaction between solar wind and the Earth’s magnetic field, the northern lights are a magnificent display of colors that happen unpredictably during the late fall and winter months. Colors range from bright greens and blues to vibrant reds.

Aurora borealis isn’t easy to catch. The lights tend to happen when it’s coldest and darkest, when most of us are sleeping. They also typically require low light pollution, asking that you be in unpopulated areas outside the range of city lights. And although there are some short-term forecasts that attempt to predict when and where the lights will appear, they can still be hard to pin down. 

They’re worth it. This list is for the determined: the best places to spot the northern lights.

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