Aurora Australis lights up Aotea

On Saturday 11 May we experienced a solar storm that was one of the strongest geomagnetic storms experienced in any of our lifetimes. A massive (over 16 times the size of earth) solar flare caused the strong solar wind. This in turn resulted in disturbances to the earths magnetosphere, ionisation of atmospheric constituents and the emission of light of varying colour. Beautiful aurora!!

Seeing the southern lights is rare this far north in New Zealand. And while many friends on the mainland were driving out of town to find a dark spot, with Aotea being an International Dark Sky Sanctuary, none of us had to worry about light pollution obscuring our view of natures spectacular show!

We truly hope everyone got a glimpse of this spectacular sight. How lucky are we.

Photo of the Aurora Australis / Southern Lights taken from Station Rock, Aotea Great Barrier Island, 11.5.2024 around 7pm.

Words and photos by our Dark Sky Coordinator, Deb Kilgallon