Aurora hunters were rewarded with a spectacular display in the sky last night.

About 160 people boarded an Air New Zealand Dreamliner for the second Flight to the Lights to experience the aurora australis high above the Southern Ocean.

Photographer Brad Phipps has shared a timelapse video taken while on the flight, made up of 250 individual shots.

Otago Daily Times Sky Watch columnist Ian Griffin says there tends to be more auroras around the equinox.


To see the display, the flight was timed near the autumn equinox, which was at 5.15am on Wednesday.

The equinox happens when the centre of the sun crosses the celestial equator in its annual apparent path around the sky.

Because the sun is moving north, it marks the start of astronomical autumn in the Southern Hemisphere.

The first Flight to the Lights was last year, the initiative of Griffin, who is also the director of Otago Museum. It is the first flight of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.