Why would the sky glow red? An aurora! A solar storm in 2012, mostly coming from an active sunspot, showered particles on the Earth that excited oxygen atoms high in the Earth’s atmosphere. As the excited element’s electrons fell back to their ground state, they emitted a red glow.
The sky that night, however, also glowed with more familiar but more distant objects, including the central disk of our Milky Way Galaxy on the left, and the neighboring Large and Small Magellanic Cloud galaxies on the right.
Image Credit & Copyright: Alex Cherney (Terrastro, TWAN)
Here’s the labelled image for anyone who is interested:
After chasing it for more than two years I was finally rewarded with two displays of Aurora Australis (Southern lights) within a week visible from Mornington peninsula, not far from Melbourne. The nights were warm an clear and the Moon was not in the sky either - I could not have asked for better conditions. The red color of this aurora is caused by the charged particles from the Sun exciting oxygen atoms high in the Earth’s atmosphere. … Being able to photograph it all night I came up with a nice video. The brighter Aurora happened on January 22nd and the smaller one, featured in the middle section, was from January 16th, followed by a rather bright Moonrise.
Local Francois Fourie and photographer William Patino continued their journey around Tasmania, exploring and photographing the beautiful and unique landscapes they encountered. This week Fourie and Patino have both shared images of the Tasmanian night sky, showcasing the incredible clarity of the sky in the south of the island state.
Using the vantage point of the Tessellated Pavement, a natural wonder in it’s own right, the two have recorded a view of the night sky. Featuring beautiful colours from across the spectrum, Patino’s image also incorporates the ethereal lights of the Aurora Australis.
Patino said, “With the naked eye, it was pure magic watching the mysterious beams of light dance as they graced the night sky here in Tasmania”.
As if the night of the lunar eclipse and Blood Moon couldn’t be anymore special, the Aurora Australis decided to also make an appearance. Spotted from the vantage point of Howrah Bluff, just a short 10 minute drive across the bridge from Hobart, the magnificent natural light show lit up the night sky with hues of purple, red, yellow and green.