Finding Northern Lights in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

northern lights

The Northern Lights are a spectacle that many desire too see but unfortunately never do. The Elusive nature of this natural phenomenon is all about timing, patience, and luck. Before giving up on your search, remember to stay positive and continually check forecasts.

With high probabilites of viewing this week into the weekend, consider refreshing best practices to see them at their best by brushing up on some basics below.

What are the Northern Lights?

The Northern Lights form when electrons moving along earths magnetic field, collide with air particles that combine into one of the most fantastic displays in nature. 

The different colors you witness form from the various gaseous particles in the earths atmosphere.

The equally stunning, Southern Lights, form below the Southern Hemisphere and are known as the Aurora Australis.

Can you see the Northern Lights in Michigan?

Michigan has a number of excellent spots to see the Northern Lights. Some of the best spots are in Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. You can catch the Northern Lights in other parts of Michigan but your best opportunities will be farther North

Marquette – Wetmore Landing, Little Presque Isle, and anywhere where light is not abundant

Tips for Photographing the Northern Lights in Michigan

Geomagnetic Activity – Monitoring the strength of Aurora is based off of two Geomagnetic readings. The KP Index (1-9) & the NOAA POES Aurora Activity Level (1-10)

Patience – One of the most overlooked aspects of chasing aurora is patience. I’ve gone out on countless nights where forecasts were solid and suddenly changed. 

Comfort – Timing the lights is usually in the late hours of the night and in cold climates. Make sure you’re comfortable and warm to enjoy this spectacle especially in the fridgid environment of the UP

Low Light Pollution Areas – The darker the better. Areas of low light pollution will allow the stars and aurora to fully engulf the chaser. Keep heading north in Michigan 

Location – Areas of high latitude (closer to the north pole) tend to have increased chances of sightings

Resources to Monitor Aurora Borealis activity

Unless you are the only person in the world who goes for night walks every night on hours end and gets lucky, you’re going to need to track the Aurora activity to have a shot at witnessing it. Here are some resources you can utilize to improve your likelihood of success:

Explore the Best of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

The Northern Lights are absolutely amazing, but won’t be a guaranteed thing. For those looking for the best guaranteed parts of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, read on below

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