Northern Lights make powerful appearance across Wisconsin

Your best chance to see the Northern Lights when they occur is out in the country away from city lights
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 7:12 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - You’ve seen pictures all over the internet Friday and some of you even sent us your own photos as the Northern Lights were on full display Thursday night.

People could see them from Iowa to Illinois, and all the way to Washington D.C. as star gazers got quite the show. While seeing the Northern lights is not uncommon in our neck of the woods, the extent of the display was something to behold.

WSAW’s very own Chief Meteorologist Mark Holley explained how this happens.

“Particles from the sun rush towards our Earth’s atmosphere and when these particles encounter our atmosphere, our atmosphere basically acts as protection and those particles light up. That’s why you see those greens, reds, sometimes different colors,” said Holley.

Interestingly, some planets don’t get to see this light show, but the Earth always does. “Other planets do sometimes get Northern Lights, but they’re mostly here on Earth,” said Holley.

This is usually the time of the year the Northern Lights can be seen, but it’s very rare to see them in the summer. Last night’s conditions were the best way to view the Northern Lights.

Holley said that if you can’t see them, it’s likely because of light pollution. So, getting away from the city limits and out in the country is your best bet to see the dazzling display.

He added that it is possible to see the Northern Lights again this year, just keep a watchful eye northward. As always, if you do get a glimpse, take a photo on your phone and send it in to share with the rest of central Wisconsin.