Aurora Australis shines bright over Kangaroo Island

An Aurora Australis was recently seen over Kangaroo Island, lighting up the night sky with beautiful colours.

Photos: C. Chabolla.

Kangaroo Island was treated to a spectacular light show, with an Aurora Australis filling the night sky with shades of red, pink and purple.

A photographer captured some stunning shots of the special event at Remarkable Rocks on the island’s western tip.

Aurora Australis is also known as the Southern Lights and is a rare occurrence in South Australia, but it can sometimes be viewed during the Spring equinox- so Kangaroo Island locals and tourists, you are lucky people.

The Southern Lights are far rarer than their Northern Hemisphere counterpart Aurora Borealis, as they can only be seen in extremely remote areas of the world.

Fierce solar storms are the driving factor behind this cool phenomenon, which send solar winds rushing towards Earth. When the winds reach the Earth’s magnetic field, they trigger reactions with gases such as oxygen and nitrogen, which create photons or tiny explosions of light. These light explosions can cause thousands of vivid colours to be formed in the sky- resulting in the Southern Lights.

Most people think of Antarctica when they think of the Southern Lights, however most cruise ships do not venture far enough South to catch a glimpse of them.

Want to chase the Southern Lights and see them for yourself? There are a couple of places in Australia where you might be lucky enough to catch nature’s special light show:


Tasmania’s capital city Hobart is the particular spot here to see the Aurora Australis, and a collection of islands and peninsulas East of the capital have quiet, south-facing bays that are ideal for seeing auroras. Bruny Island, Satellite Island, Betsey Island and South Arm are other popular places along with Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Mount Nelson. With such a list, Tasmania is without a doubt the best place to see an Aurora Australis in Australia.

The southern coast of Australia

Photographers have captured auroras here from the Gippsland Coast, the Bass Coast, Phillip Island, Mornington Peninsula and Bellarine Peninsula. All these places have one thing in common: a clear view towards the ocean, which is an essential factor to see these colourful lights dance across the sky.

The key to a Southern Lights sighting is a dark sky and a pollution-free atmosphere- you need as many hours of darkness as possible, clear skies and a moonless night, making winter the ideal time to see this celestial event.

Tips for capturing the Southern Lights on camera:

  • Find a location with minimal light pollution.
  • Have the right equipment ready, such as a tripod, a lens with a wide aperture to let lots of light into the sensor and a camera good at taking low-light photos. Also, if you have a newer mobile phone, give that a whirl- they can also capture the light show.
  • Ensure your camera is set to ‘manual’ mode, ISO between 1600-6400, shutter speed between 5 to 15 seconds and lens to the lowest f-number/widest aperture.

Click here for more information on the Southern Lights.

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