Northern Lights viewing at its peak during April in Michigan

April isn't just the month when spring emerges from the winter and Michigan gets its first real taste of warm weather

The month is also special for another reason: it offers prime opportunities for northern lights viewing.

To see the charged particles dancing in the night sky doesn't even require leaving the state - though it will likely mean a bit of driving to the northern parts of the state.

The Great Lakes offer good places to view the aura borealis thanks to the miles of available shoreline spots. That includes Michigan's dark sky park near Mackinaw City where light pollution is a kept to a minimum while offering maximum viewing availability of the sky.

According to, April, October, and November offer the best chances to see the northern lights. And of course, the further north one is when the lights are out the better the viewing experience is. 

Anywhere in the Upper Peninsula works, though the shoreline along Lake Superior has some of the best viewing spots.

As far as predicting when the northern lights will be out, the best place to check for times is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA's 30-minute forecast offers a short-term estimation of the location and intensity of the northern lights.

The aurora borealis occurs when solar rays interact with the Earth's magnetic field, creating strips of colors that meander in the sky.