Vibrant aurora visible

Aurora hunters were turning their eyes to the heavens as Dunedin's night sky put on an unusually vibrant display, with beams visible to the naked eye, last night.

Photo: Stephen Jaquiery.
Photo: Stephen Jaquiery.

Otago Daily Times illustrations editor Stephen Jaquiery took this image (above) of the southern lights from Signal Hill, overlooking the city.

Otago Museum director and aurora enthusiast Dr Ian Griffin said the ''absolutely phenomenal'' display was the result of a coronal hole on the sun, which sent high-speed jets of solar wind to strike Earth's atmosphere.

Auroras were measured on a Kp index of between 0 and 9, which was ''a measurement of how much the earth's magnetic field is jiggling'', he said.

Last night's display was a Kp7, making it ''really, really big'', he said.

''It's certainly one of the brightest auroras I've seen in the time that I've been here.''

The aurora seen from Blackhead beach. Photo Craig Baxter
The aurora seen from Blackhead beach. Photo Craig Baxter


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