Northern Lights Viewing Places in the United States

Northern Lights Viewing Places in the United States
Northern Lights in Alaska.Courtesy of Travel Alaska 

Are there places in the U.S. where you can see the northern lights? Rich Report have a surprising answer for you.

An awe-inspiring natural wonder is accessible to anyone without a passport. You would normally have to travel north to places like Norway, Finland, and Iceland to see the northern lights, but there are some less-expected spots in the United States where you can see the spectacular celestial show. All of these destinations are well worth visiting.

To see the lights, solar activity must be high, particularly in the United States. During a coronal mass ejection (CME), the sun releases superheated plasma, causing a massive geomagnetic storm that increases auroras on Earth. Despite this, solar weather is unpredictable, so you need to prepare (and be resilient) to catch an aurora. Be alerted to the best times to catch the northern lights in your area using digital tools such as NOAA's weather forecast and Night Sky Alerts. 

The aurora borealis can be spotted in the northern United States if the conditions are right, since they are closer to the "Aurora Oval" where geomagnetic activity is strongest. The best nights are those with longer, darker nights (like around a new moon) and clear skies. As a result of the Earth's tilt with respect to the sun, solar activity tends to be high around the equinoxes (in September and March).


Courtesy of 1043 Wow Country 

As far south as northern Idaho, northern lights can be seen when geomagnetic storms are big enough. If you want to maximize your chances of seeing the lights, head to Priest Lake and the Idaho Panhandle National Forest.


Courtesy of Odyssey Resorts 

During the right conditions, the northern lights can be seen in parts of the Midwest, such as northern Minnesota. It is actually one of the best places in the lower 48 states to spot the phenomenon. The area must be dark and free of light pollution, in addition to having a massive solar storm. Make your way out of the city into a dark area when a solar storm occurs. The show (hopefully) begins when you park yourself beneath the stars.


Courtesy of ABC127

Cherry Springs State Park, a Dark Sky Reserve, provides excellent viewing opportunities for northern lights in Pennsylvania. You can stay there overnight, participate in tours, and even take a photography class to improve your skills. Enjoy some of the country's best stargazing even if you don't see the northern lights at the Overnight Astronomy Observation Field.


Courtesy of WLNS

It is sometimes possible to see the northern lights from Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The Headlands International Dark Sky Park is another Dark Sky Park in Michigan. Northern lights can be unpredictable even though the park has ideal conditions for viewing them. If you're lucky, you'll catch a glimpse of the lights over these woodlands if you keep your expectations low.


Courtesy of Travel Alaska 

Alaska is one of the best places to see the northern lights because of its location within the auroral oval and dark skies. Fortunately for American travelers, you don't even need a passport to visit. If you want to see the northern lights, Fairbanks, Utqiagvik, and Coldfoot are the best places to go. Guided tours are also available for visitors who want expert advice on viewing. You will have the best chance of seeing the phenomenon in the Last Frontier if you head inland during March.


Courtesy of Wisconsin Rapids Tribune 

There have been reports of auroras appearing in the skies over several Wisconsin natural landscapes. You may be able to see the lights if you head to the Apostle Islands or Washington Island in Door County. As a result of Wisconsin's location on both Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, as well as its proximity to the Great Lakes, the northern lights are even easier to view when frozen over.

North Dakota

Courtesy of Grand Forks Herald 

The northern lights can be seen in this northern state if you are looking for a place to view the night sky. You can catch the auroras in scenic areas like Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Mystical Horizons in the Turtle Mountains near Bottineau. Martens Observatory in North Dakota recently installed a pair of cameras that will capture auroras as they appear overhead via a livestream.


Courtesy of Pinterest 

Mostly rural, the state offers plenty of opportunities for stargazing. In addition to the Dark Sky Sanctuary, Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument, Maine is the best place to see northern lights east of the Mississippi. A Dark Sky Park is also located in the Appalachian Mountain Club's Maine woods, as well as other remote, clear spots where you can see auroras.

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