Aurora Australis dazzles the South West

Suzanne AstonSouth Western Times
The Aurora Australis show seen from Capel.
Camera IconThe Aurora Australis show seen from Capel. Credit: Hannah Carlisle

People across the South West were treated to a stunning show of the Aurora Australis (Southern Lights) last Friday evening.

The display lasted about 90 minutes and produced stunning purple and red curtains of light shifting across the skies.

A Bureau of Meteorology spokesperson said the light show was seen widely across Victoria, Tasmania, southern Western Australia, parts of South Australia and even in far western New South Wales.

Hannah Carlisle from Bunbury was out with friends four-wheel-driving around Capel when the Aurora started.

“It was like a red haze in the air, then the lights really started appearing. I was completely in awe. I was ecstatic,” she said.

“I have tried to see the lights before. It’s humbling to see, and reinforces how life is meant to be loved.”

Kellie Dullard from Perth was at Abbey Beach Busselton when her brother called her and told her to go outside.

“It was amazing, I was in right place at the right time. We sat outside and watched for about 45 minutes, ” Mrs Dullard said.

The Aurora Australis is caused when highly energetic particles, powered by strong solar winds collide with particles in the atmosphere.

The BOM spokesperson said the colour of the Aurora usually indicates where in the atmosphere the collisions are happening which is usually between 500 and 100km above.

Higher altitudes result in green coloured Aurora while the strong purple colour of Friday’s Aurora suggests that these were very energetic particles.

The high energy particles penetrate deeper into the atmosphere, and estimates put the Aurora on Friday at around 80km high.

The Sun is entering a period of very high activity so there may be more opportunities to observe this stunning phenomenon.

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