Spectacular, Colorful Aurora Australis Illuminates The Night Skies Of Australia And New Zealand
People from some parts of Australia and New Zealand were amazed at the beautiful and colorful aurora australis that illuminated their night skies last Sunday, May 28, 2017. It appeared above Tasmania in Australia and New Zealand's South Island.
— ABC News Tasmania (@abcnewsTas) May 29, 2017
Dave Reynolds, a landscape photographer, captured images of the aurora australis in a small town of Hobart in Tasmania. He described the sight as beautiful and incredible. He added that it brought him a lot of joy.
The Lady Aurora Australis is absolutely beautiful tonight Check out our Tasmania facebook page (link in bio) for 15 photos just sent in! pic.twitter.com/BvVXnj3CQL — Tasmania Today (@today_tasmania) May 28, 2017
Mr. Reynolds told the BBC that it appeared to the naked eye as a very bright white light for nearly two minutes as it moved across the sky. "It was so bright I actually started chuckling to myself."
— Paul Fleming (@lovethywalrus) May 28, 2017
Aurora is also referred to as Northern or Southern Lights or polar lights. It appears because of the disturbance of the solar wind that interacts with Earth's magnetic field and atmosphere. The solar wind is a stream of charged particles escaping the Sun.
Aurora australis could also be forecasted using the planetary index or Kp numbers that are a measure of geomagnetic activity that heightens on a scale of zero to nine based on the geomagnetic strength. In this aurora that appeared on Sunday, it had a Kp number of seven. This means that it could be seen from Tasmania and the southern end of New Zealand's South Island, according to The Guardian.