How to see Tasmania’s stunning Southern Lights - Tasmania Australia

The Northern Lights get all the love when it comes to natural light phenomena, but did you know Australia has its own light show – the Aurora Australis? The ‘Southern Lights’.

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The fact that Tasmania just might be the best vantage spot in the world to view the Southern Lights remains largely unknown. “Australians are so privileged to be able to see the Southern Lights and you can see them from New Zealand as well.

The science.

The Aurora Australis, or Southern Lights, happens when the sun releases a massive burst of solar wind and magnetic fields into space, also known as CME (coronal mass ejections). These solar winds carry particles which interact with earth’s magnetic field, colliding to produce energy releases in the form of auroras. Given that earth’s magnetic field is closest to its surface at the North and South poles, Antarctica and Tasmania are the best spots for seeing the Southern Lights given their proximity to them.

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 Best spots to see the lights?

The main obstructions to viewing the Southern Lights are large mountain ranges, trees and city (and light) pollution. There are, however, some places that photographers’ favour due to their landscape qualities.

The reason the Northern Lights are often talked about more than the Southern Lights, is because there are far more vantage points accessible to see the Northern Lights, such as Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Northern Canada and Russia – when you’re talking about seeing the Southern Lights, it’s a little harder.

The reason for this is the location of the land down south, as in, there isn’t much of it. The spots with the best vantage points have no land – just water – which makes it difficult! However, there are a few spots that will show off this natural phenomenon with gusto, the trick is to be as far south as possible, which is why Tasmania and New Zealand is such a good bet.

QUEENSTOWN, NEW ZEALAND

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There are a few places in New Zealand that have proven to be fruitful when it comes to spotting the Southern Lights. The city of Christchurch, the small village of Lake Tekapo and Stewart Island. However, no place records more sightings of the Southern Lights in New Zealand than Queenstown. Several times throughout the year, the city is awash with the brilliance of the bright lights in the sky caused by Aurora Australis.

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 Sheep graze in New Zealand, oblivious to the Southern Lights show going on overhead.

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