The night sky has been fascinating humans for thousands of years. The thrill and chill of a dark sky illuminated by points of light so far away they freckle the darkness of space is captivating anywhere you look up. But, add to those patterns of star light the enveloping, dancing and colorful light waves of the aurora borealis and you have a sight many only dream of encountering.
If this atmospheric phenomenon is on your bucket list, a star gazing trip to Voyageurs National Park should be top of the list for things to do in Kabetogama.
Voyageurs National Park has become a premiere destination for viewing the Northern Lights in the United States for multiple reasons.
You probably already guessed one reason viewing the aurora borealis is ideal in this region: our location!
Minnesota is one of the best states for viewing the Northern Lights simply because we’re one of the northernmost states. When energized particles from the sun hit the Earth’s atmosphere, the Earth’s magnetic field deflects these particles towards the poles which, in turn, interact with the Earth’s atmosphere creating a “light show”. The closer to the poles you are when this occurs, the greater your chance of viewing the Northern Lights.
So here’s to being at the “top” of the lower 48 states!
Turns out, there’s two other important location factors that make Voyageurs National Park an ideal place to view the aurora: the dark and our waterways.
Firstly, Voyageurs National Park is a certified International Dark Sky Park. This means that the park has exceptionally dark skies untainted by unnatural light and the park management continues to support this “dark sky” resource through preservation and education.
An absence of manmade light from buildings, roadways, homes and other structures allows our skies to remain beautifully dark allowing stars, meteor showers and the Northern Lights to show up clearly and vibrantly for exceptional viewing.
Secondly, the many lakes of the region provide ideal viewing locations throughout the region because of the wide-open spaces they create above them. Not only do these wide-open skies make it easier to view the aurora borealis, they also provide dramatic moments as the lights and stars reflect against the water’s surface. There are countless viewing opportunities throughout the region including on Kabetogama.
If you, too, are a Northern Lights admirer and ready to take your aurora viewing to new heights, Voyageurs National Park is a top destination for viewing this extraordinary phenomenon in the United States. While abundant viewing occurs in the winter, the Northern Lights do occur throughout the year. Make sure to add this unique night-sky activity to your next Kabetogama vacation.