Northern Lights:Wisconsin,Aurora,America


The endless crashing waves of the mighty Lake Superior resembling the roar of the sea,that night,had playful green lights dancing in the sky.And we,at around 11pm to 2am,at Saxon Harbour in pitch darkness,probably the only lone souls there this Saturday night(3rd Oct),with our hands almost freezing saw the unpredictable.How lucky were we? Or was that all the research that made us come  here.

What we saw that fateful night!
To know Aurora Forecast around the world,click here

I always had thought that Northern Lights(Aurora Borealis) had something to do with extreme polar regions - Norway,Iceland,Finland,Alaska but never thought that Wisconsin too has it. To know the best Northern Lights in the world for winter 2015-2016 click here

Not to mention,in our 6 hour road trip from Milwaukee,our heart skipped many times on 'What if we don't' as the exact predictability of Northern Light Storm that creates visible lights in the sky can only be accurately estimated half an hour before.The forecast did mention 'Today was' but 'that was 6 hours ago'.On the road,as we watched the sky,we saw a brighter sky than usual,but nothing that confirms northern lights further north.But as grumpy my day began today,I still had my doubts.

When we didn't go Kayaking and chose Road Trip To Manitowish Waters

Milwaukee was dull this Saturday,perfect for a sleeping whole day cosy in your beds - it was cold,it was windy and it was cloudy.We still had our plans to Kayak on the Milwaukee River before the close that is third week of October - If at all.When we got all ready to go A courteous message from Beth said: 'It's very cold and windy not recommended for amateurs - Not safe'.That must have something to do with the winds of 15-25 mph going occasionally  to 40mph that meant either the river drags us or we pull our best efforts to kayak through.

As grumpy as I was,God had another beautiful plan.

We used window shopping as a rebound - We said to ourselves - We need Jackets - Heavier ones - but we didn't get any! Just then a call from a friend took us to the most impromtu road trip - Willing to go for a road trip?Like now at 4:30pm?It's just 5 hours.Just 5 hours?

It seems our friend had done all the research on 'Northern Lights' and was almost certain it would happen.He said

"If it wouldn't we'll see fall colors at peak.Its beautiful up there."

As we were taking our packed goodies out,a gentleman from our apartment asked us and when we said we're going to Lake Superior he quickly replied "Oh its beautiful,are you going to the islands as well".Well,no.

So there we went.We reached Manitowish Waters at around 10 pm and checked in a Motel.There after,we drove further north to Saxon Harbor.

                                                            Previous Northern Lights
                                                          In North America,Click here

You also get great Northern Lights from Bayfield WI
My Previous Posts on America

The Northern Lights Experience

Once you have seen Northern Lights every other ray in the sky would feel like 'the Northern Lights are there' or 'going to be'.That's the magic of the illusion that it creates for some time.Surprisingly,it isn't as rare,it happens quite often,in different parts of the world,and all you need to do is follow the updates and forecasts and pray for your luck.Many folks camp for days in the open to see one.The higher up north you go,the clearer and better it gets.

The origin of the aurora begins on the surface of the sun when solar activity ejects a cloud of gas. If one of these reaches earth, taking about 2 to 3 days, it collides with the Earth’s magnetic field causing complex changes to happen to the magnetic tail region. These changes generate currents of charged particles, which then flow along lines of magnetic force into the Polar Regions. These particles are boosted in energy in Earth’s upper atmosphere, and when they collide with oxygen and nitrogen atoms, they produce dazzling auroral light.To know more click here

Wikipedia too has a great explanation on Aurora

When we first saw the Northern Lights,it was as that one single green ray which started it.We were trying to take our best shot but the green light of lighthouse would interfere plus the cold.After a while the single green ray become more rays and creates movable waves in the sky.As if God had gotten a paint brush.Its an experience worth it,totally!Northern Lights continues sometimes to the day but you can't see it.

It happened on 3rd October,I recently heard it happened on 7th Oct again,so it ain't that rarest rare but we still were lucky :)

Capturing A Northern Light on Your DSLR

Capturing a Northern Light is not so easy.Last evening a friend of mine remarked "Why such blur pictures" to which I said "It was very cold with the winds on Lake Superior on your face at the middle of the night" what we experience is not a substitute of any picture taken.It's just to keep memories frozen in our hearts.After all,we weren't prepared.To say it all,I didn't even had a proper jacket.I had underestimated the cold.And should've bought a Heavy Jacket than trying to keep
myself sane in fleece one that I wore that day!

The trick that I later realized: Always take back shots of yours.
Chances are your shot won't be as blurry as mine :)

Any which ways,capturing a Northern Light on your camera needs a bit of trial and error and a DSLR and a tripod and possibly a remote for the least shake.That needs to be kept in perfect Shutter Speed and ISO's and we didn't had a remote and so our hands would shake or we would.Capturing it on phones(even iPhone) is difficult because Northern Lights are movable rays and are most visible with the darkest surrounding(The same way all stars are).And most important - It needs patience to be able to be there - all the time  - till you get that perfect shot.Some of the tips and tricks are here.We were happy we could at least get something.All in all - a happy day.

Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes of North America. The lake is shared by Canada's Ontario and the United States' Minnesota to the north and west, and the United States' Wisconsin and Michigan to the south.

That makes me think how much I love Wisconsin(where I live).When most people complain about the cold,it is one of the most purest and unexplored parts of US yet to be told to the world.And even though I am yet to experience the minus degrees Wisconsin has in Winters,I am hopeful about the Snowmobile signboards and designated Ski Areas en route.After all I don't have to go to any Hill Station.I live in one :)

Have you seen northern lights?I am all ears for them,so shoot in your comments and your date with the illusion.


  1. Must have been a spectacular sight.sigh :(

  2. @Indu Chhibber:Yes It was Indu.Something I hadn't seen before :)

  3. Looks like you had a great time. Didn't know it happens there also.

  4. Amazing! On my must see list!! :)

  5. @Nisha:Same here Nisha :) Didn't know before someone told me...

  6. @magiceye:Thanks magic eye,keep following Aurora update and checking the skies...The colors are a bit faded in the beginning...


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