If you’ve been contemplating an aurora-borealis-viewing vacation, now may be the best time in five decades to book it.
We’re coming up on what is known as a solar maximum, a period of peak solar activity, which occurs in 9- to 14-year cycles. The northern lights result from gas particles from the sun reaching the earth’s atmosphere.
NASA predicts that this solar maximum will be up to 50% stronger than the last cycle in 2000, and stronger than any solar activity since 1958, when the aurora was visible as far south as Mexico.
Though light shows will be strong this winter, NASA is pinpointing the peak activity for late 2013 or early 2014.