It’s impossible to predict exactly when the aurora will occur, but there are “space weather” forecasts that give us an indication of what to expect. It can get quite complicated as a number of conditions must be right. Just because the activity is high doesn’t mean good aurorae are guaranteed. In particular, the magnetic field of the solar wind must be pointing southwards for it to interact with the Earth’s magnetic field in the right way to cause the aurora. Take a look at the Science page on what causes the aurora if you haven’t already.

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The Space Weather Prediction Centre is the world’s foremost space weather forecasting unit. They offer alerts for industries negatively affected by space weather, but they also produce forecasts for aurora enthusiasts. They have a comprehensive website with data, information and tips. Have a look at their aurora forecast and also their space weather enthusiast’s dashboard for relevant data.

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In the UK, Lancaster University have an aurora forecast service called AuroraWatchUK. You can sign up to receive alerts when the aurora may be visible from the UK. They also provide space weather data and have a blog sharing news and tips.

Also look for local Facebook groups where people share local information and sightings.

next: travel tips

Dr Melanie Windridge

info 'at' melaniewindridge.co.uk
 @m_windridge /DrMelanieWindridge m_windridge