Chaise Taylor took this photo from Ototoka Beach, near Maxwell on Thursday night of Aurora Australis.

The aurora australis, also known as the southern lights, forms when charged particles emitted from the sun during a solar flare penetrate the earth's magnetic shield and collide with atoms and molecules in our atmosphere. These collisions result in countless little bursts of light, called photons, which make up the aurora.

This time, a raging solar storm has meant a glorious array of lights in the skies above the lower South Island with the lights, though not quite so spectacular, being seen as far north as Whanganui.

Chaise's photo of the green light was taken at about 8pm last night. The lights of Whanganui are to the left.