I don't know about you, but seeing the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, was one of my top bucket-list items for the longest time before I actually got the chance to enjoy the full experience about 25 years ago during a trip to Norway with my dad.

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Getty Images

Having traveled a bit over my life, I know that some things that everyone tells you to go see just don't live up to the hype. These are some examples that, after visiting, I felt should be put into the category of things that aren't quite as cool to see in person as you've been led to believe:

  • Mt. Rushmore
  • Stonehenge
  • Hollywood Walk of Fame
  • Times Square
  • The Blarney Stone
  • The Mona Lisa

The Aurora Borealis DOES NOT belong on that list. Seeing the Northern Lights in person was even cooler than I thought that it would be, and I'm looking forward to another chance to see it, especially since no travel is required.

intense northern lights over an empty street, which stretches out far to sea
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Illinois, Or At Least Northern Illinois, Has Had Opportunities In The Past To See The Aurora Borealis, But Those Who Are In-The-Know Say This Month Will Be Our Best Chance In Over 20 Years

Right now, the sun has almost peaked in its current solar cycle and it's producing solar eruptions, solar flares, and most importantly, solar winds. Magnetic fields on earth move the solar winds toward the poles, and then the particles in the solar wind mix with our atmosphere, giving us the Northern Lights.

One thing to keep in mind is that the Northern Lights will appear differently in our part of the world than they do way up north in places like Norway.

Here's the Aurora Borealis in Sommaroy, Troms og Finnmark, Norway:

Getty Images
Getty Images

And here it is in Wisconsin:

The northern lights, aurora borealis over a lake in Wisconsin.
Getty Images

As for when the best viewing times will be, click here to check out NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center, where they publish a "tonight and tomorrow" Northern lights forecast.

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