Australians got a nice surprise when they looked up at the sky last night, as the Southern Lights (Aurora Australis) were in full swing.
In what is the biggest showing since 2005, the Aurora Australis is expected to keep up for a while yet, with social media awash with photographs and videos of the amazing light show.
It was all over the country’s east coast after a “severe” solar storm raged, following the eruption of three coronal mass ejections towards Earth. This caused a major (G4) geomagnetic storm last night, which will carry over until tonight.
“G4 storms are the second-highest on the five-point severity scale. Effects here on Earth include potential voltage control issues in power systems, high and low frequency radio issues, and orientation adjustments may be required for satellites,” according to Joe Kunches, director of space weather services at Atmospheric and Space Technology Research Associates (ASTRA).
Plenty of the public took the time to take some fine snaps of the event, with this initial time lapse a particular highlight.
— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) June 22, 2015
— SNOWSEARCH australia (@SNOWSEARCH_aus) June 22, 2015
— Ryk Goddard (@rykgoddard) June 22, 2015
— ABC News Melbourne (@abcnewsMelb) June 23, 2015
These light shows are caused by huge energy wars in space, when electrons collide in the upper reaches of the Earth’s atmosphere. Our magnetic fields forces them towards both poles, giving us the Northern and Southern Lights. A better, detailed description of why they occur is here.
Southern Lights, via Shutterstock