Northern Lights in Michigan
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Awesome Aurora Borealis | See the Northern Lights in Michigan

The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) are a naturally occurring phenomenon caused by collisions between gaseous particles in the Earth’s atmosphere and charged particles released from the sun. The differences in color are caused by the different types of gas particles that are doing the colliding. We are blessed with some of the best places to see the Northern Lights in Michigan!

Northern Lights in Michigan
Northern Lights on Old Mission Penninsula | photo via @Megann30

History of the Northern Lights in Michigan

Historically, Aurora Borealis has had many interpretations. The Maori, of New Zealand, believed them to be the fires and torches of people living far north. Inuit tribes of Alaska looked to the lights to see representations of their ancestors and the animals that they hunted. A little closer to home, the Menominee of Wisconsin thought the lights were the lanterns of a group of giants that lived to the north.

Regardless of how they work or the beliefs behind them, the Aurora Borealis is beautiful and the Mitten is blessed to have such a good seat in this natural light show.

Northern Lights from Whitefish Point Lighthouse in Michigan
Northern Lights from Whitefish Point Lighthouse | photo via @pat _morgan_images

Where is the Best Place to Watch the Northern Lights in Michigan?

Northern Michigan is full of quiet, remote, and dark places that are perfect for watching the Northern Lights in Michigan. So go grab the family and a blanket and find a spot that is free from any type of light and enjoy the Northern Lights in Michigan.

Headlands International Dark Sky Park in Mackinaw City

The sixth International Dark Sky Park in the U.S., exploring Headlands International Dark Sky Park is one of the best things to do in Mackinaw City, especially if you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights! Over 600 acres along more than two miles of Lake Michigan shoreline in Emmet County provides a perfect stargazing paradise.

Lake Superior’s Shoreline in the Upper Peninsula

With its proximity to the North Pole and its lack of light pollution, the Upper Peninsula is a prime place for watching the Northern Lights in Michigan. Lake Superior’s high shorelines give sky-gazers a full, unobstructed view of the night’s lights, making it one of the best places to see Aurora Borealis.

Port Crescent State Park in Port Austin

The dark sky preserve in Port Crescent State Park gives stargazers the perfect setting for catching a shooting star or a glimpse of the Northern Lights in Michigan! Competent kayakers might even enjoy a nighttime venture to Turnip Rock for nature’s best light show.

Northern Lights in Michigan
Northern Lights in Michigan | photo via @Kay_wy

When is the Best Time to See the Northern Lights in Michigan?

The Northern Lights in Michigan can often be seen between the months of August and April, with the peak months being March, April, October, and November. Solar activity tends to be highest during the transition from fall to winter and winter to spring, adding to the chances of catching Aurora Borealis in Michigan!

The actual timing of the Northern Lights can be difficult to predict, and most predictions are made within 24-48 hours of the actual display. Pick a clear, crisp night for the best chance at catching the Northern Lights on display in Michigan. The best app to predict the lights is Space Weather Live, which can predict them up to an hour before they become visible.

Watch the Northern Lights in Michigan

Unable to catch the Northern Lights in Michigan live? Check out this time-lapse video of the Northern Lights from 2011.

More Photos of the Northern Lights in Michigan

In March 2021, the Aurora Borealis was on full display across much of Michigan, and the best Michigan landscape photographers did not let us down. We’ve gathered some of the best photos of the Northern Lights in Michigan to share with you…

Northern Lights in Michigan: Crystal Lake
Crystal Lake | photo via @noahsorensenphoto

 

Northern Lights in Michigan: Marquette
Marquette | photo via @buckycalloway

 

Northern Lights in Michigan: Elk Rapids
Elk Rapids | photo via @snaphappymichigan

 

Northern Lights in Michigan: Mackinac Island
Mackinac Island | photo via @greendrinks

 

Northern Lights in Michigan: Mackinac Island
Mackinac Island | photo via @greendrinks

 

Northern Lights in Michigan: Marquette
Marquette | photo via @buckycalloway

 

Northern Lights in Michigan: Eagle Harbor
Eagle Harbor | photo via @Shelbydiamondstar

 

Northern Lights in Michigan: Pictured Rocks
Pictured Rocks | photo via @Brandonwade.mi

 

Northern Lights in Michigan: Marquette
Marquette | photo via @The_aditya_sv

 

Northern Lights in Michigan: Silver Lake Sand Dunes
Silver Lake Sand Dunes | photo via @Fireboltphotos

 

Northern Lights in Michigan: Pictured Rocks
Pictured Rocks | photo via @Brandonwade.mi

 

Northern Lights in Michigan: Copper Harbor
Copper Harbor | photo via @Shelbydiamondstar

 

Northern Lights in Michigan: Whitefish Point Lighthouses
Whitefish Point Lighthouses | photo via @pat _morgan_images

 

Northern Lights in Michigan: Eagle Harbor Lighthouse
Eagle Harbor Lighthouse | photo via @Shelbydiamondstar

 

Northern Lights in Michigan: Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park | photo via @Noahsorensenphoto

 

Northern Lights in Michigan: Marquette
Marquette | photo via @The_aditya_sv

 

Northern Lights in Michigan: Eagle Harbor Lighthouse
Eagle Harbor Lighthouse | photo via @D.e.l.photography

 

Northern Lights in Michigan: Upper Peninsula
Upper Peninsula | photo via @Jkarp_photos

Where have you seen the Northern Lights in Michigan?

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