• aurora;
  • model

This study evaluates the ability of the OVATION Prime auroral precipitation model to provide operational forecasts of the visible aurora. An operational implementation would primarily provide the general public with some guidance for viewing the aurora. We evaluate the likelihood that if aurorae are predicted to be visible at a location, they will be seen there within the hour. Nighttime model forecasts were validated with Polar Ultraviolet Imager data for Kp ≥ 3 and for the years 1997 and 1998. The overall forecasts for a visible aurora to occur or to not occur were correct 77% of the time. The most important prediction for public auroral viewing is that the visible aurora will occur, and these forecasts were correct 86% of the time.