Viewers hoping to see a "super massive" aurora light up New Zealand's skies last night may have been left disappointed as an expert has warned it might not arrive until this morning.

Aurora expert and photographer Paul Le Comte said the aurora would likely be at full strength during daylight hours, reducing visibility to those interested in capturing a glimpse of the natural phenomenon.

New data suggests the aurora is 12 hours behind schedule and may not arrive until 6am, Le Comte said on Twitter.

The aurora could be the biggest since St Patrick's Day in 2015, Le Comte said.


Le Comte said visibility would be best further south, but he believed the aurora should be visible from as far north as Wairarapa south.

"If it's bigger than expected, you'll see air glow as far north as Auckland," he told Newshub.

"Make sure you're away from town or city lights," he advised.

The weather probably will not help viewers as cloudy skies and a full moon are likely.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) said the "super massive" aurora was expected to pass over the country overnight and this morning.

An aurora happens when charged particles from the sun interact with atoms in the upper atmosphere.