Cosmic light show captured in southern skies video

Maki Yanagimachi

Timelapse animation of Aurora Australis taken from MJUO on the February 23rd.

Vivid pink bands of light painted the skies above the South Island during a stunning cosmic light show.

Earth & Sky photographer Maki Yanagimachi captured this time lapse of Aurora Australis, better known as the southern lights, at Lake Tekapo in south Canterbury on Monday night.

The spectacular phenomenon is the southern equivalent of the famous northern lights, and can occasionally be spotted from the southern regions of New Zealand.

New Zealand photographers shared their images of the lights on a Facebook page dedicated to capturing the phenomenon.

Auroras occur when particles ejected from the sun form a solar wind and enter the earth's upper atmosphere.

A particularly harsh solar wind can disrupt the earth's magnetic field, triggering spectacular flashes of light against the dark sky.

Yanagimachi, a professional astrophotographer, said the southern lights were unpredictable and could be difficult to capture.

For her time-lapse, she took a series of still photos with multiple exposures throughout the night and stitched them together on a computer.

"This one was the best aurora we've had so far this year. We could really see the colour," she said.

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 - Stuff

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