Northern Lights In Madison Wisconsin

Aurora Borealis | Northern Lights | Madison, Wisconsin

City lights reflect across open water as the sky fills with green and red colored northern lights dance above.

Northern Lights streak across the Madison Wisconsin skyline night sky. With the ice breaking up over Lake Monona the refection of the city lights paint across the waters edge. Knowing this large solar storm was a strong possibility to be viewable with the city I had to get to this popular location in Madison. The lights danced over the city throughout the night and made this a very special moment around the Madison area! This image would make a beautiful addition to any home or office. Check out the sizes below.

The evening of Thursday March 23rd my phone was getting notifications of solar storm aka - Northern lights. We don't typically see the lights around this area at all. City lights drown out the night sky, plus the Northern lights typically don't reach this far south. This evening things were different. Very different. Just a few days earlier on March 20th the sun released a vey large Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) aimed directly at Earth. These solar storms travel a very high rate of speed. This flare traveled in excess of 600km/s. So what does this all mean you may ask. The National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration issued Geomagnetic Storm Watch for March 23rd -25th. Storms are rated on "G-Scale" Geomagnetic Storms G-1 thru G-5. They are also based on a "Planetary K index" or known as the "KP" this ranges from KP-0 thru KP-9. So basically Wisconsin experienced a G-4 / KP-8 Geomagnetic storm and these lights were seen as far south as New Mexico.

White boats rest upside down on the pier as the night sky is filled with colors from the northern lights. Yellow, green, and red colors fill the sky.

The University Of Wisconsin sailing club called the Hoofers has their boats resting upside down waiting for the ice to clear lake Mendota. Meanwhile the northern lights dance above them. Not a typical evening along the Memorial Union but one to remember for sure!

March 23, 2023 CME Arrives | Rare Northern Lights Show In The Midwest

Earth took a direct hit from this storm that caused the night sky to erupt in blazing colors racing across the sky. Images started to appear on social media and messages from all over the state. Some viewers saw the lights completely overhead raining down as they danced across the sky. In my travels as a photographer I have only been blessed a few times to see the northern lights directly overhead and this was in Alaska during a photography workshop that I run. So to see this type of activity right here at home was simply amazing and very rare! I shared this experience with my family down at the Memorial Union. This is a very popular University Of Wisconsin area in the summer time for students. The Bucky Badger mascot of Wisconsin was the location I wanted to try and capture with northern lights. This was the image I captured called "Cosmo Bucky"

Northern lights fill the night sky with green and red curtains colors. A statue of a badger stares into the night sky watching the scene unfold.

Amazing Northern Lights show we had right here in Madison, Wisconsin. As the Northern lights went to a KP-8 the lights were seen as far south as New Mexico. When I heard there was a possibility I grab my gear and headed to the University Of Wisconsin's Memorial Union. A very popular spot in the summer time for the University for music, boating and gathering. This capture is a one of a kind for sure and a must for any Bucky Badger fan! Available in many sizes below.

Colors of the Northern Lights

Why did we see different colors in the sky some people have asked. Well here's why, the light show we see from the ground is caused by electrically charged particles from space entering the Earth’s upper atmosphere at a very high speed. The Earth’s atmosphere is made up of different atoms like oxygen and nitrogen. These atoms cause the colors we can see in the "Northern Lights". Depending on where these atoms become excited at different levels in the atmosphere they will produce different colors that we see. Some common colors seen are green, red, purple, violet, yellow and blue. These colors are produced and are excited at different altitudes.

Up to 60 miles: Blue with Nitrogen

Above 60 miles Purple or violet with Nitrogen

Up to 150 miles: Green will be visible with oxygen

Above 150 miles: Red with oxygen

A group of trees are silhouetted during the night as the sky fills with colors of reds, greens and yellow waves of lights that streak across the night sky.

Group of oak trees stand still as the Northern Lights dance above them in Wisconsin. These trees made for the perfect setting for this night chasing the lights. I really love how simple this image is but still keeps your attention with the silhouette of these large trees.

University Of Wisconsin Mascot Bucky Badger

"Soul Searcher"

The sky filled with streaks of yellow, green and red bands of colors as the northern lights dance across the sky. A mascot statue of a badger looks at the sky.

Madison, Wisconsin March 23rd we experienced a KP8 geomagnetic Northern Lights light show throughout the entire state where we had clear skies. I headed to the Memorial Union in hopes to capture some unique images. As Wisconsinites know Bucky Badger is a big fan around Madison. So I wanted to capture him and this pose fits this image perfectly. Here is Bucky Badger the "Soul Searcher"

Northern Lights Across The Last Frontier of Alaska

In all my travels searching out the Northern Lights I have found Alaska to be the most incredible area to watch Mother Nature's light show. Check out some of my favorites here! If you would like to join me on an incredible trip to see the Northern Lights check out the workshops on my site with Light Chasing Photo Tours.

Northern Lights | Alaska Northern Lights Photography Workshop | Limited Edition Art Prints

Check out Joe Garza Photography's Alaska collection to see images from the Alaska frontier, The Artic Circle, and along the Dalton Highway. Looking to gather your own stunning images? Check out the Light Chasing Photo Tours page to join our Alaska Northern Lights photography workshop or another well-loved location and bring home stunning images of your own from Alaska, Maui, Kauai, Glacier National park or other incredible workshop locations.