Queenstown One of the Best Places to See Southern Lights

The southern lights or aurora australis are the southern cousin to the aurora borealis and can best be seen from the most southern of landmasses, such as Tasmania, New Zealand and Antarctica, writes Jennifer Nalewicki in an article for Smithsonian Magazine. Queenstown is one of the four aurora australis hotspots featured in the article.

“There are a number of places on New Zealand’s South Island that have proven again and again to be hotbeds for spotting southern lights, such as the city of Christchurch, the tiny village of Lake Tekapo and Stewart Island off the country’s southern coast.”

“But so far this year Queenstown has made headlines worldwide for the breathtaking array of lightshows that have occurred in the skies above it.”

“Just like the northern lights, the southern lights occur when electrically charged solar particles and atoms in the Earth’s atmosphere collide with gases like oxygen and nitrogen, causing those gases to emit light,” writes Nalewicki. It’s difficult to predict the exact moment when a southern lightshow will begin, but “the website Aurora Service offers an hourly forecast based on real-time solar wind data procured from the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) a NASA spacecraft in orbit.”

The other three hotspots to see the southern lights are:

  • Mount Wellington, Tasmania
  • Victoria, Australia
  • Antarctica & South Georgia Island

Article Source: Smithsonian, Jennifer Nalewicki, July 29, 2017

Image Source: Youtube


Tags: Antarctica  Aurora Australis  aurora borealis  New Zealand  Queenstown  Smithsonian  Tasmania  

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