Video captures stunning aurora australis, but is it different than aurora borealis?
A specially-chartered flight from New Zealand over Antarctica in March has resulted in some stunning video of the aurora australis.
Taichi Nakamura, a photographer onboard the second ever “Flight to the Lights” specially-chartered flight, compiled a six-hour timelapse of the aurora as it passed over the sky.
But what is aurora australis and is it similar to aurora borealis?
The aurora australis, according to Space.com, is very similar to the “northern lights” people can see from time to time in places like Canada, Europe and the U.S.
Both are triggered when energetic particles from the sun speed out either through a solar wind or a coronal mass ejection. According to NASA, once they reach Earth, the solar particles and magnetic fields cause particles already trapped near Earth to be released, and thus cause a reaction in the upper atmosphere creating the light show.
In the case of the aurora australis, it’s more commonly seen in Australia and Antarctica and is considered the “southern lights” as it’s found in Earth’s Southern Hemisphere. The Australian government says Tasmania is the place where it’s most often seen on the continent.
The chance of seeing an aurora, however, even in Tasmania on a clear night, is an average of one to two per cent, though they’re more common near the equinoxes of late March and September.
Unlike the aurora borealis, the “southern lights” are much more elusive and the Antarctic Guide says the best time to see the lights are between March and September — winter in the Southern Hemisphere.
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