A bright year ahead for Northern Lights viewing

The Northern Lights are a natural spectacle that can be seen at night.

M ystery has surrounded the Northern Lights for thousands of years.

T he flore s cent colors coat the sky on the rare occasion when the suns particles come crashing down on Earth's magnetic field.

" It's an experience in your lifetime you will never forget , even if you only see it once ," Emmet County's Dark Sky Park Program Director Mary Stewart Adams said.

T his year the sun has reached its solar maximum . which happens every 11 years. T his means the sun is closer to the Earth. That combined with the spring equinox makes March and April the best time to spot the Northern Lights.

" It's much more predictable now than it used to be , because the satellites which on space , which is much closer to the Earth and give us some warning that the particles are on their way but there is really no tried-and-true it's kind of a luck of the draw," Astronomer Bryan Shumaker explained.

S humaker says there are many tools out there to help you find out where the glowing lights might show up next.

S pace weather websites provide satellite images to give you a head start to where the lights could appear. B ut he says most of the time , you just have to be in the right place at the right time.

" Be prepared when they tell you it is going to come. Pray the weather is good the sky is clear and if it is that's the time to be looking. Anytime after dusk and see if anything is appearing up in the sky," Shumaker said.

This Saturday, Emmet County will hold an event at the fairgrounds from 7:30 to 9 p.m.

Where you can learn tips and tricks to finding and photographing the Northern Lights.