A natural wonder will light up the Australian sky this week, and there’s a good chance that sky gazers may actually see it, according to space & weather experts.

An increase in solar activity over the last few days has space watchers excited about the potential of seeing the Aurora Australis lights, but only in southern parts of the country.

Tasmania and southern Victoria have been flagged as the best locations for viewing the aurora activity on either Wednesday or Thursday between 3.00am and 5.00am.

If you can pull yourself out of bed on a school night, it’ll be worth the disruption.

Although the rare sighting can’t be guaranteed, Bureau of Meteorology Space Weather’s Dr Zahra Bouya said an increase in solar eruptions from the sun’s visible surface suggests that it’s likely.

“We are currently monitoring two coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which are large clouds of plasma that are ejected from the sun and travel at high speeds through space,” she explained. “They are both relatively slow moving and our model predictions have them passing over us on 15 and 16 May.”

“When this material reaches Earth, most of it is deflected by the planet’s magnetic field. But as the CME passes over the Earth its magnetic field may connect with ours allowing huge amounts of energy to be transferred to our magnetic field, generating geomagnetic storms that can last for two or three days and produce dramatic auroras over successive nights.”


Image: Jack Cain/Unsplash

Dr Zahra recommended sky gazers head to the headlands or a dark beach in order to increase their chances of viewing the phenomenon, while the Bureau’s Philip Landvogt suggested those in Tasmania find a spot along the east coast, north of Hobart.

“In southern Victoria, cloudy skies are forecast on Wednesday with the best viewing conditions expected on Thursday night when it will be mostly clear with just some isolated fog patches,” he said.


Have you been fortunate enough to see the Aurora Australis in person?