Second time lucky: If you missed Aurora Australis lights, they may return

Australians could have another opportunity to see the colourful Aurora Australis lights.

May 13, 2024, updated May 13, 2024
A light in Coles Bay, Tasmania.(Supplied:ABC/Jai Moyle)

A light in Coles Bay, Tasmania.(Supplied:ABC/Jai Moyle)

The rare display caused by a large geomagnetic storm appeared in the sky above several states late on Saturday.

It was seen as far north as Mackay in Queensland, which Australian Space Weather Forecasting Centre manager Kate Brand said was unusual.

“Aurora is usually seen near the North Pole or the South Pole but at the moment the sun has been really active, there’s been quite a lot of space weather activity,” Dr Brand said.

Anyone who missed out on seeing it could have another shot on Sunday night.

“There is a chance of seeing auroras, perhaps not as far north as last night, but we are expecting that they may be visible in the southern parts of Australia,” Dr Brand said.

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“So in Tasmania, South Australia, Southern Victoria and perhaps southern NSW.”

The storm over Australia reached G4 geomagnetic storm level, considered severe, which hasn’t been seen since 2004.

Dr Brand said geomagnetic storms are not dangerous to humans but can impact technology an communication infrastructure.

“For example, satellites could be impacted which are used for position navigation and timing, it can cause increased currents in the power network and things like high frequency, or HF communication, can also be impacted,” she said.

The display was also seen in the northern hemisphere, called aurora borealis.

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