Skip to main content

Dark Skies

Did you know that Michigan is among the best places in the lower 48 states to see the northern lights (aurora borealis)? The auroral oval of visibility is centered on the magnetic pole, which means that northern Michigan offers the same auroral visibility as Oslo, Norway; Helsinki, Finland; and Kodiak, Alaska. However, since Michigan is farther south, night time lasts much longer from spring to fall than in these locations, which are famous for “white nights” in which the sun does not fully set. Dark, moonless nights are needed to see the northern lights, so Michigan provides excellent opportunities to see them all year—including summer. However, light pollution is increasingly an issue—with a rate rising up to 20 percent per year. Scenic Michigan is committed to working toward practical solutions to address the problem of light pollution and we’re working on developing resources to guide communities on the development of better lighting ordinances.

We are partnering with Michigan Dark Skies and the International Dark Sky Association to develop better guidance for Michigan communities. Please reach out to us if you need any assistance developing a lighting ordinance for your community.

If you’re interested in visiting a dark sky preserve in Michigan, check out the following websites for helpful guidance.

News and Updates

Scenic Michigan Releases 2nd Edition of Michigan Sign Guidebook and Offers May Trainings

By Billboards and Sign Control, News

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Reed v. Town of Gilbert significantly impacted local governments’ approach to sign regulation. The case’s application of the content neutrality doctrine rendered most of the local sign regulations in Michigan unconstitutional. Recent Sixth Circuit court decisions challenge local governments’ ability to continue with longstanding modes…

Read More

Purchase Our Award-winning Sign Guidebook

This Michigan Sign Guidebook addresses local planning and regulation of nearly all types of exterior signs.

Purchase GuidebookPurchase Guidebook