When you visit Lake of the Woods you are about as far north as you can get and still be in the continental U.S. Located north of the 48th parallel and away from urban light and air pollution, MinnesotaÃ¢ÂÂs True North offers a panoramic view of the Aurora Borealis or Ã¢ÂÂNorthern Lights.Ã¢ÂÂ They can be a virtual light show on practically any clear evening.
This nighttime drama is a natural phenomenon. During peak sunspot activity, charged particles are thrown far out into space and are carried to the earthÃ¢ÂÂs atmosphere by the solar wind. The particles then interact with the earthÃ¢ÂÂs magnetic field in the polar regions.
The colors in the northern lights are not a continuous spectrum, but a few separate colors such as red, violet, blue, and green. The first indication of a northern lights display is a faint glow low on the horizon. After a while an arch of light is lit. It can stretch all over the sky. Rays of light and Ã¢ÂÂdraperiesÃ¢ÂÂ are formed with curls and waves. The draperies appear as if they are flickering or dancing in the wind. Sometimes the rays will stretch out in all directions above your head. This occurrence is called the aurora corona and will fill any onlooker with a hushed sense of awe.
A great place to check them out is along Highway 11 which is also known as the Waters of the Dancing Sky Scenic Byway.