Aurora Australis on show over Southland

By Paul Harper

Stunning images of Aurora Australis have been captured from Invercargill.

Astrophotographer Stephen Voss took the photos at Sandy Point, just west of Invercargill, from the banks of the Oreti River.

He said the lights display was at its best between 11pm and 12.30am.

Mr Voss told spaceweather.com a "dull arc hung around for a couple of hours before suddenly exploding with a mixture of rays and curtains".

The bright lights were the result of two coronal mass ejections (a moderate G2 geomagnitic storm and an earlier smaller S1 solar radiation storm) impacting on the earth.

A coronal mass ejection is a burst of solar wind and magnetic fields which flare from the sun.

Upon striking the earth the energy is channelled towards the poles, creating Aurora Australis in the south and Aurora Borealis in the north.

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