Tromso, Norway : A clear skied hot spot where aurora seekers are likely to spy their dazzling prize. After years of low solar activity, projections are looking up for travelers hoping to experience the aurora borealis, or northern lights.

As the sun's volatility increases, with more coronal mass ejections and solar flares, so, too will the frequency and the intensity of the aurora.

Experts predict that solar activity to peak in 2025, explained Trond S. Trondsen, an aurora expert at Kep Scientific, a designer of specialized optical instruments for space research in Calgary, Alberta.

Already, he said the number of sunspots is ''climbing faster than predicted.'' One of the best places to see the northern lights, Tromso, in Norway, is more than 200 miles [320 kilometers] north in the Arctic Circle, and is relatively accessible.

Travelers can get there either by plane or by combination of train and us. Cruise ships and ferries are also possibilities.

Most important, the town's location, close to the sea but with mountains nearby, means the surrounding landscape offers enough distinct weather zones to make it likely that there will be clear skies most nights  - a must for seeing the lights when they do appear. [ Ingrid Williams ]


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