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Use the northern lights forecast on google to see what the activity is like and remember you will only see it when the sky is clear.
It has been seen from Tromso itself but only when really active -
Suggestions to improve your chances of seeing the Northern Lights.
Take the 8 hour round trip leaving around 4pm that takes you by bus (including two short ferry journeys) up to Skjervoy where you join the Hurtigruten coastal ferry for the 4 hour journey back to Tromso. Better chance of clear skies and no light pollution to stop you seeing them.
Take a tour with Tromso Safari. They have four sites with camp fire/hot drinks/toilets and based on weather forecast take you to the one where you have the best chance of seeing the Northern Lights - no chasing around in a bus getting frozen. These people have a near 80% success rate and provided the group with a three hour "show" in very average conditions, when other groups had about half an hour . Their guides were exceptional and the company was used by the BBC and Joanna Lumley for her recent documentary.