Aurora Australis is the name for the Southern Lights that occur due to the sun’s rays trapped in the earth’s atmosphere leading to an astounding natural light show.
Atlanta, Georgia: Watching the Northern Lights or the Aurora Borealis is a wishof many night sky gazers and nature lovers across the globe. However, there is also alesser-knownphenomenon of Southern Lights, which are not far behind on being scenic. The Southern Lights are much easier to access then the Northern Lights and they are also easier to observe.
The Southern Lights popularly known as the Aurora Australis is a delight to watch for night sky watchers and travelers. It’s caused by the electrically charged particles, which are trapped in the earth’s magnetic atmosphere, leading to a mesmerizing light show. This phenomenon can be seen around the equinoxes of March and September.
These lights can be witnessed in some parts of Australia and New Zealand, and one of the best places to view these lights is Dunedin, New Zealand. Dr. Ian Griffin, an expert on Aurora Australis has shared some of his instructions on how to witnessthe Southern Lights. Residing in Dunedin, Dr. Griffin has witnessed the Southern Lights for more than 150 times.
He says,” The important reason why we see the Southern Lights is because we are in one of the closest land masses situated outside of Antarctica to the Southern Lights and we are alsoin a remote and isolated area far from the cities with very minimum light pollution.”As the name suggests the Southern Lights can be seen from the southern horizon in New Zealand and they aresighted above the hills and water bodies, which is a photographer’s delight.
“I have seen the Northern Lights and they are delightfulsince they form directly over your head but to me, I find the Southern Lights a more elusive and beautiful aurora then the Northern Lights,” quotesDr. Griffin. He also is surprised by the fact that people living in those areas also have no knowledge on these lights and haven’t seen them in their whole lifetimes.
These lights look the best when the skies are completely dark in the months of June and July, the aurora activity in these months are the easiest to spot and they have a dramatic appearance. Dr. Griffin says,”It’s important to increase your chances of witnessing the aurora by planning your visitbased on the phases of the moon, the firstquarter and last quarter moons being the best, as they produce very little light.”
There are various online websites, like the spaceweather.com and the Dunedin Aurora hunters Facebook group, which provide latest updates and tips on where to find the Southern Lights to the tourists and sky watchers. Photographers and tourists are generally advised to get to their favorite positions early.
This will not only help them get a good spot to view the lights but it’ll also let your eyes and pupils to adjust to the darkness. It’s also advised for people to select anarea near water bodies so that they might get a possible reflection. This may provide the tourists and the night sky watchers a view to remember for their lifetimes.
People who are aiming to witness these astounding Auroras are advised by Dr. Griffin to travel to Papanui Inlet or Hooper on the Otago peninsula to get the best view of the lights. Both these areas are easy to reach by and are just 25 minutes away from the central city.
People can also view these lights from the coastal road, which is to the south of Brighton or else they can also go to Tunnel Beach and the carpark at Sandfly bay to get a clear view of the Southern Lights. Dr. Griffin has in the past organized charter flights for people who wished to witness these Southern Lights. The trips included thecrossing of the international date linemany times, providing a closer view of the Aurora to the tourists.
The same type of trip is planned next year as well, which is aimed to take people closer to these Aurora lights and give them an experience that would last a lifetime.