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.
NASA unveils greatest views of the aurorae ever, from space in HD
“When the free electrons finally find the ions they bind to, they drop down in energy, creating an incredible display of colorful possibilities. Of all of them, it’s the oxygen (mostly, with the strong emission line at 558 nanometers) and the nitrogen (secondary, with the smaller line at a slightly higher wavelength) that create the familiar, spectacular green color we most commonly associate with aurorae, but blues and reds — often at higher altitudes — are sometimes possible, too, with contributions from all three of the major atmospheric elements and their combinations.”
The northern (aurora borealis) and southern (aurora australis) lights are caused by a combination of three phenomena on our world, that make our aurorae unique among all worlds in our solar system:
Outbursts from the Sun that can go in any direction,
Our magnetic field, that funnels charged particles into circles around the poles,
And our atmospheric composition, that causes the colors and the displays we see.
Explore southern New Zealand in a journey from the dry highlands of canterbury to the lush rainforests of the westcoast and the rugged coastlines of the south to the highest peaks of the southern Alps. Captured in incredibly detailed 8K resolution and mastered at 60fps this video is aimed to bring you as close to the scenery as being just on location. Within the production-time of 16weeks, 185000 photos have been taken, 8TB of raw-material shot, over 220 hours of time captured, 8000km driven and over 1000 hours have been spent for post-production. Visit my website for information about the project: timestormfilms.net/new-zealand-ascending/
The Sun goes through cycles of activity every 11 years or so. When it is more active, more sunspots appear on the surface and more charged particles are ejected, while at the other end the sun is quieter, with fewer sunspots and less ejection. Since these charged particles, when they are caught up in Earth’s magnetic field, are what drive outbreaks of the Aurora, the sky tends to light up the most during active periods for the sun and aurora outbreaks are more rare when the sun is less active.