Dancing with the stars: Aurora Australis dazzles over South Island skies

From RNZ

A magnificent Aurora Australis has shimmered over New Zealand’s night sky

Otago Museum director Ian Griffin, who is a keen aurora chaser, told RNZ there was a fabulous display of the Southern Lights over Hoopers Inlet in Dunedin Harbour.

“We’ve had beams, we’ve had, on the camera at least, lots of different colours, purples and green. The sky has been full of rays, so it’s been pretty spectacular.”

It had filled the entire sky in Dunedin, he said, and it would probably have been visible for most of the South Island.

If skies were clear for the lower North Island, then it may have been visible there too, he said.

The various colours are caused by atoms in the atmosphere glowing at different altitudes, he said.

“There was a tremendous explosion on the Sun a few days ago and that raced across the Solar System and it hit the Earth’s magnetic field today … and auroras have been seen all over the world [today], all the way from Scotland right down to southern New Zealand.”

Griffin had four or five cameras to capture the sight, which will be used for a show at Otago Museum.

“I’ve been trying to take as many aurora pictures as possible and make some little movies.”

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