Aurora captured during flight to Chch

22:30, Nov 04 2012
Aurora australis Oct 13
AMAZING: Oxygen atoms cause the green colours while nitrogen emits red-based colours.
Aurora australis Oct 13
BRIGHT SKY: American Ron Blevens was returning from wintering over at McMurdo Station when he captured these photos of the aurora australis.
Aurora australis Oct 13
GREAT SIGHT: An aurora australis is created when particles from the sun interact with the Earth's magnetic field.

A flight from Antarctica to Christchurch turned into a photography session as the aurora australis lit up the sky above the southern ocean.

Scott Base manager of operations and infrastructure Iain Miller, who was onboard the Globemaster C17 flight on October 13, said it was an ''amazing'' experience to see the aurora australis, or southern lights, in action.

The aurora is caused by explosions on the sun that send gases, known as solar wind, towards Earth.

The Earth's magnetic field captures the particles, which collide with atoms in the atmosphere and release energy, seen in favoured locations as auroras.

''They went for more than an hour and a half and we were flying through that so it was pretty impressive.''

He said the aurora was visible from about 1000 kilometres north of Scott Base, or 2500km south of Christchurch, and was above the southern ocean.

An American on board, Ron Blevens, took several photographs from the cockpit of the plane.


The Press