Winter in the north is magical for a multitude of reasons. Sparkling blankets of snow covering the landscapes, frozen lakes creating miles of temporary land to explore, ice formations resembling sculptures, and so much more. One of the most incredible natural wonders that you will find in the Lake of the Woods area is the aurora borealis. Dazzling displays of dancing lights illuminating the star-flecked sky create a storybook image that you will never forget.
What is the Aurora Borealis?
The northern lights have always been something that has mesmerized humans across the northern hemisphere. Many cultures view them as powerful spiritual occurrences, while early science thought they were fractured light being reflected off moisture in the air. Modern science has broken down this magnificent natural display as having direct correlation to the sun and solar patterns.
Solar flares are the starting point for the aurora borealis. They travel through space on solar winds and cause particles to collide when they pass through the Earth’s atmosphere creating the colorful lights that we can see in the night skies. The science behind it is extraordinary! This is why we can actually predict when northern lights will be most visible and where. All we have to do is track solar flares and “solar storms” to see where they are headed.
Where and When Can You See the Northern Lights?
It makes sense that the further north you go, the more likely you are to catch a glimpse of the aurora borealis. But where and when can you see the northern lights? Well, first thing first, you have to be in an area with less light pollution. Areas away from large cities and plenty of open skies to gaze up at. Lake of the Woods is fantastic for creating an area that won’t have city lights shrouding your vision.
The northern lights vary on what time of night they will be most active, but one element that will need to be in line with your plans of viewing them is the weather. Cloudy skies will block out the lights, so you will need to try for a night with clearer skies. As far as figuring out when the northern lights will be most visible, there are a few apps available that provide aurora borealis forecasts. Aurora is a great app that will tell you real-time northern lights viewing probability as well as allow you to see a forecast of several days to plan ahead. They go so far into depth that you can actually track solar flares to see the sun’s activity, as well. Even if you aren’t looking to dig into all of the details, being able to see what your chances are of seeing them while you are in Lake of the Woods Minnesota is the best way to plan ahead. There is also a Facebook group that shares their photos and views of the lights while they are active as well as tips on getting fantastic photos called Great Lakes Aurora Hunters.
Catch a Glimpse on Lake of the Woods
There is something considerably unique about Lake of the Woods that allows optimal northern light viewing, and that is the sheer size of the lake. You have miles of panoramic views with minimal light pollution. Whether it be in the summer or winter, the lake gives you an uninterrupted front row seat to look north and catch a glimpse of the northern lights. You can step out of your sleeper house rental and look to the skies over the frozen lake, or head out from your cabin for an evening of summer stargazing in the warmer months. Either way, River Bend Resort on Lake of the Woods Minnesota is in a fantastic location to get your fill of Minnesota wilderness, fishing, and aurora borealis chasing