Aurora Australis lights up the skies

00:19, Feb 20 2014
Aurora Australis February 20 2014
Taken from a paddock just a bit south of Dunedin.
Aurora Australis February 20 2014
Aurora Australis lights up the sky at at Highgrove in Dunedin, looking South/South East.
Aurora Australis February 20 2014
A shot of the aurora taken at 10.22pm from Dunrobin, west Otago.
Aurora Australis February 20 2014
Aurora Australis from Dunrobin, west Otago.
Aurora Australis February 20 2014
The aurora at 10.13pm, south of Lincoln near Lake Ellesmere looking southeast.
Aurora Australis February 20 2014
The aurora was so strong it was even visible just south of Opiki on the Manawatu plains - this photo taken at 10.10pm.
Aurora Australis February 20 2014
A shot from 10.47pm at Dunrobin, West Otago.
Aurora Australis February 20 2014
The aurora, shot from Saddle Hill in Dunedin about 10:20pm.
Aurora Australis February 20 2014
Aurora lights up the sky above Brighton, Dunedin.
Aurora Australis February 20 2014
Aurora Australis visible as far north as Manawatu.
Aurora Australis February 20 2014
The greens and purples of Aurora Australis, taken from Dalziel Road, Dunedin.
Aurora Australis February 20 2014
A stunning view of Aurora Australis taken from Saddle Hill, Dunedin.
Aurora Australis February 20 2014
Aurora Australis as seen from Worsley Road in the Port Hills near Christchurch by Brendon Gilchrist of ESB Photography.
Aurora Australis February 20 2014
The sky is lit with purple-pink light during Aurora Australis, taken from Worsley's Spur Road near Christchurch.

Aurora Australis was out in full glory on Wednesday night which prompted many photographers to reach for their camera.

A geomagnetic storm began to hit Earth early in the evening, causing the phenomena, and intensified by about 10pm before dropping away before dawn.

While aurora are often only visible in southern New Zealand, photographers as far north as Manawatu reported capturing the spectacle on camera.

Long exposure photographs show the vivid bands of colour in the sky, which are caused by ions, electrons, protons, neutrinos and radiation being released from the Sun in an event known as a Coronial Mass Ejection, or CME, and hitting Earth's magnetic field.

Photographer and ex-Wellingtonian Brad Phipps grabbed his Nikon D3100 and took the opportunity to get some stunning photos.

"It's one of nature's phenomena that's really spectacular and being closer to the poles we're in the best spot for it," he said.

"Half the time though you never know how long they're gonna last; setting up for the best shot is often lost by scrambling to get your camera and tripod set up in time to avoid missing out on a fading aurora."

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