Southern lights spectacular

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 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.

ODT Sky Watch columnist Ian Griffin says there tends to be more auroras in the period around the equinox. 

In order to see a auroral display, the flight was timed to fly near the autumn equinox, which this year was at 5.15am on Wednesday.

Taichi Nakamura captured this image on the flight. Photo: Taichi Nakamur/Trace of Light Photography.
Taichi Nakamura captured this image on the flight. Photo: Taichi Nakamur/Trace of Light Photography.

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

Because the sun is moving north in the sky, it marks the start of astronomical autumn here in the southern hemisphere.

The first Flight to the Lights was held last year. It was the initiative of Dr Griffin, the director of Otago Museum, and the first of its kind in the southern hemisphere.

 

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