Lucky astronomers were excited last week as they witness the Aurora Australis.
The Aurora Australis is a phenomenon that fills the sky with bright colours from pink and purple to yellow and green.
It occurs when solar winds from the sun mix with the earths upper atmosphere.
The Aurora Australis is normally only seen in the South Island, but this solar storm is so big it has been spotted off the North Island’s east coast.
What is an Auroa?
An aurora is a natural light display in the sky (from the Latin word aurora, “sunrise” or the Roman goddess of dawn).
Aurorae are caused by cosmic rays, solar wind and magnetospheric plasma interacting with the upper atmosphere.
Their charged particles, mainly electrons and protons, enter the atmosphere from above causing ionization and excitation of atmospheric constituents, and consequent light emissions. Incident protons can also produce emissions as hydrogen atoms after gaining an electron from the atmosphere.