It’s a busy, exciting time in the Australian night sky right now. Not only are Venus and Jupiter in a rare configuration for the rest of the month, but right now there is a more spectacular sky show happening – the aurora australis.
The aurora australis, or ‘southern lights’, is the southern cousin of the aurora borealis. While the main colours can vary, the aurorae in essence sees the sky take on a spectacular, moving range of colours. It’s all brought about by high solar flare activity, with the charged particles emitted reacting with the upper levels of the Earth’s atmosphere. The result? A definite site to see! If you can…
The Bureau of Meterology reports today that people from as far afield as Girvan (just north of Newcastle, NSW) to Lake Cairn (near Bendigo, Victoria) witnessed the aurora australis last night. Here’s a few of their photographs:
Speed it up a little, and it looks like this:
In good news, the space weather forecast for tonight is for “Moderate to High solar flare activity expected over the next 3 days.” That’s space weatherperson talk for more sky disco tonight!
Tasmania was recently a lucky audience for the southern lights, so we hope you get a chance to witness this spectacular natural phenomenon. The more southern you are, the higher your chance of seeing it, but, as demonstrated last night, it can be seen in some unexpected locations.
The science explanation is briefly covered above, but some Australian Aboriginals have their own explanation. For some, it is a bushfire in the sky, while others explain them as the campfires of spirits.
Did you see the aurora australis last night? If you did, did you take any photos that you’d like to share? Will you go out tonight for a look? Or have you been lucky enough to have seen the aurora borealis in the Northern Hemisphere? We’d love to hear your stories and see your photos!