Northern Lights Forecast
January 4, 2023 12:01 am - January 4, 2023 6:30 am
Oh heavens! The night skies are filled with celestial phenomena – stars, constellations, the Moon, the Milky Way, and the northern lights (aka aurora borealis). Want to see it all? The North Shore has very little light pollution, especially away from the shoreline communities, making for ideal night sky viewing.
The vast night skies are another free North Shore attraction, open every night, easy to access.
Seeing the northern lights is breathtaking, inspiring, awesome. Shafts of luminescent green light dance across the sky. Fans of pink glow for hours. Vibrant, pulsating white wands illuminate the night heavens. This is the aurora borealis.
And to be perfectly frank, what looks like the white glow of light pollution is also the northern lights. Less showy, but frequent because northern lights are a geomagnetic storm that occurs close to the earth’s poles. When the storm is big and the winds are right the storm can be seen here.
The bigger the storm, the bigger show. Aurora forecasts are just that, predictions. If there is a likely chance we post a notice (see northern lights forecast below). As with other storms, sometimes they pass quickly and sometimes they linger all night.
Look to the north sky, this generally means Lake Superior is over your right shoulder.
Get away from lights, a mere half mile inland does the trick.
The higher in elevation you are, the better your chances of seeing the lights, and getting an unobstructed view.
If you see a smear of white over the forest, you may be seeing the aurora. Watch and see if it moves.
I wish I could give you photography tips, but that eludes me. Which is lucky because then I watch and appreciate.
A more consistent evening display is the Milky Way. This massive spiraling star formation has a dense nucleus and thin surround disc. When we see the hazy band of light bending across the night sky, we are looking at the Milky Way.
Moonless nights are best for night sky viewing – we’ve listed those times below.
The Milky Way is brightest in the summer months and can be seen in the east/southeast sky. Binoculars will let you zoom in on the shimmering stars.