Northern Lights: Past, Present & Future

This weekend on Michigan in Pictures we featured an article by Suttons Bay writer Kim Schneider about the Northern Lights. As a side note, it ended up being our most popular post ever when it was featured on the Pure Michigan Facebook. Kim’s feature Best northern lights viewing in Michigan says:

The Aurora Borealis is entering a new cycle of higher activity, offering the best viewing in 10 years in Michigan, said astronomer Dick Cookman, a retired professor of astronomy, geology and environmental science at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City. Cookman posts monthly night sky updates at, the website of his Suttons Bay science and nature store, Enerdyne.

The strongest solar flare in four years erupted a couple of weeks ago, Cookman said. If not for the cloud cover that obscured the drama, it would have led to light displays visible as far south as Upper Iowa, South-Central Wisconsin and mid-Michigan. The best part, he noted, is that the 7- to 11-year cycle is just beginning, offering great northern lights viewing possibilities likely to peak in 2012 or 2013.

It was just a happy coincidence that Ken Scott recently added this ‘blast’ from the past to the Leelanau photo group on Flickr. Ken writes that some of you will remember this night from November of 1991, one of the best nights for northern lights in memory. Click the photo to read the stories and head over to Ken Scott Photography for lots more northern lights photos!