Northern lights in Michigan: How to best catch them now

Northern lights in Michigan: How to best catch them now

The high northern latitudes of the Upper Peninsula and its unobstructed view from the southern coast of Lake Superior make it one of the best places in the U.S. mainland to catch aurora borealis, which appears across the night sky and is most commonly seen near the planet’s northern and southern poles.


The months of April, October, and November (near the spring and fall equinox) are peak viewing times; it’s when solar particles are most likely to react with the Earth’s magnetic field, producing ribbons of blue, green, pink, and violet light.

What time to catch them 

The northern lights are most visible in the night sky so optimal hours for viewing them are after 10 a.m., according to Michigan Technological  University, with many experts suggesting waiting until after midnight.

How to predict them  

While the northern lights happen year-round, they aren’t always the easiest to spot, and even experts can’t always predict their arrival far in advance. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has a 30-minute forecast that can be used to predict the best day and time to go see them. There are other apps that can be used to predict when they will be most visible.

Best Places

Several places in northern Michigan attract thousands of people every year to see the northern lights.

1. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore — Munising

A wide horizon with an unobstructed view across Lake Superior makes it easier to see the northern lights.

2. Tahquamenon Falls State Park — Paradise 

Tahquamenon Falls, Michigan’s second-largest state park, is another wonderful park located near Lake Superior, making the northern lights easy to spot.

3. Marquette

There are various places near Marquette including Sugarloaf Mountain and Presque Isle Park that are great places to see the northern lights.

4. Isle Royale National Park — Keweenaw County 

This national park is one of the least visited parks but that helps make it an ideal location to see the northern lights because the night sky is very dark.

The Upper Peninsula isn’t the only place Michigan residents can see the northern lights. Even though they aren't as common in lower Michigan there are a few places where the northern lights may still be visible.

  1. Leelanau State Park- Leelanau County
  2. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore- Traverse City
  3. Port Crescent State Park- Port Austin
  4. The Headlands International Dark Sky Park — Mackinaw City


Recommended For You

About the Author: NewsGuy