The Aurora Australis also known as the Southern Lights is a magnificent beauty that you might just catch in the Wanaka night sky. This Aurora is not as famous as its counterpart the Aurora Borealis seen from the northern hemisphere, but is still well worth missing some sleep over.
We won’t go into the science too much, but if you are wondering where the Aurora comes from, it is caused by charged particles from the sun interacting with atoms in our upper atmosphere. By monitoring solar storms we can make predictions and increase our chances to witness the phenomena.
However, auroras are tricky things to predict. Websites like Aurora Service are a great reference. They monitor the solar flares and storms strength in Kp’s 0-9. Any reading above a Kp5 is considered a geomagnetic storm, which they believe is worth staying up for. The stormier the better!
The best time to see the Aurora Australis from New Zealand is in autumn and winter, between the months of March and September, although it does occur all year round. Obviously your need a clear night, with few clouds, along with the magic Kp reading of 5 or more, don’t forget some healthy patience and a cup of hot chocolate of course! Good luck, we hope you get see it.