Many of us who live in the southern hemisphere believed that we had to travel close to the Artic Circle to see an aurora. But, did you know that here in Australia we have the Aurora Australis that can be seen from the south coast of Victoria and Tasmania?
Over the next two years, this spectacular viewing of the southern lights is expected to intensify because the sun’s magnetic circle is going into overdrive. This will result in increased activity of solar storms and more vivid and bright colours in the night sky.
An influx of recent sightings
If you live in Tasmania or southern Victoria, you may well have seen gorgeous images that photographers have taken over recent months of the southern lights.
While generally, Aurora Australis can only be seen through the lens of a camera, an extremely vivid display was recorded recently in Tasmania where this phenomenon was actually visible to the naked eye ‒ and friends of ours in Lakes Entrance have been making us green with envy with their photos of the lights.
This type of activity is likely to increase until the sun reaches its maximum cycle in July 2025 according to NASA scientists.
In fact, medium to large solar storms are likely to occur more frequently and it’s expected that these can be seen all around the south coast of Australia and even as far north as Perth.
Even iif you’re not a photography enthusiast like many aurora chasers are, if you keep your eye on solar activity, you can definitely tick this event off your bucket list.
Where are the best places to see the southern lights?
If you’re keen to get a really good view of the Aurora Australis, here are the best places to go.
Bruny Island in Tasmania
Bruny Island is around a 30-minute drive from Hobart and a popular weekend getaway destination for locals. As the island is relatively free from harsh city lights and pollution, you’ll have a great chance of seeing the southern lights in all their glory.
Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park in Tasmania
Another favourite viewing spot in Tasmania is Dove or Cradle Lake in the Lake St Clair National Park. The mountains surrounding the lakes are fairly flat which means you’ll get an excellent vantage point for seeing the southern lights.
Phillip Island in Victoria
There have been numerous sightings just recently of spectacular southern lights displays on the south coast of Phillip Island as well as further east along the southern coastline. One of the most coveted spots is Wilsons Promontory which is just a three-hour drive from Melbourne. The lack of light pollution makes this a brilliant spot for watching the solar activity at night.
Lakes Entrance, Victoria
As we mentioned earlier, the Aurora Australis has been putting on quite a show this winter.
When is the best time to see the southern lights?
The southern lights can be seen all year round but you’ll find the most activity between May and August. That’s because the earth’s magnetic fields of the north and south pole are more in line with the sun’s activity.
If you have a decent camera or can get hold of one as you head to a decent southern viewing spot, you’ll have a better chance of capturing this amazing light show.
For those who are keen to book a trip to see the Aurora Australis and want to know when to go, you can sign up for alerts on the BOM’s Aurora Alerts website. After you do this, you’ll get an email whenever geomagnetic storms are identified by the Australian Space Weather Forecasting Centre.
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