The northern lights are known for two things: their astounding beauty and their notoriously short forecast time. It’s really hard to know when the auroras will show and how strongly they’ll shine. The beautiful photos of the lights we enjoy are based in no small part on pure luck. A photographer researches where to be, the best time to be there, then just hopes everything works out. For instance, Peter Mather spent four years waiting for the right conditions and timing to get his photo of the aurora shining over a city. But thankfully there are tools that forecast up to an hour in advance to boost your odds of seeing them. Read more.