Let’s be honest: No matter where you go, it’s nearly impossible to guarantee witnessing the Northern Lights. Many dream of viewing the majestic bands of light dancing across a star-filled night sky. But very few ever get to see it in-person.
It just so happens that if you’re in the continental United States (sorry Alaska and Hawaii), the Keweenaw Peninsula might be your best bet to catch this phenomenon caused by solar flares and Earth’s magnetic field.
The rationale is pretty simple:
Photo credit: Eric Hackney @eahackne. Northern Lights over Calumet Waterworks Park.
So now that you know that the Copper Country is the place to go, how can you up the chance of viewing these elusive lights?
According to our good friends at Michigan Tech, you’re more likely to see the Northern Lights between August and April, with the peak months being April, October, and November. Those kids are crazy smart, so I’ll trust them on this. That doesn’t mean you can’t see them at other times of the year (solar flares don’t keep a calendar), but this is prime time.
There are a lot of great free websites and mobile apps that communicate when the Northern Lights can likely be viewed. Many will send you notifications, text messages, or emails to tell you if something’s happening. Here are a few websites that can help:
As stated above, there are a bunch of places to choose from to wait out the lights. Again, head north away from light pollution and be sure you have an unobstructed view of the northern horizon. Here are a few to get you started:
Photo credit: @nathanfrazier_20. Aurora at Breakers Park.
Seriously, take a moment to really look up, and enjoy a clear night sky. For many, this is a rare experience even absent an aurora. Bring a constellation guide and have fun stargazing. The universe truly is a spectacular sight to behold.
Honestly, no matter what the forecasts say, sometimes it just doesn’t happen. But with some persistence and a bit of luck, you’ll be rewarded with one of nature’s most memorable experiences.