On May 28th, 2017, we had a substantial magnetic storm, causing a huge Southern Lights display which was seen in many places in the South Island of New Zealand. My photography partner, Bex and myself photographed them from Lake Ellesmere, just South of Christchurch.
The sky was incredibly clear that night allowing us to see the Milky Way right above us very clearly. The stars were amazing and there were quite a number of meteors. The star that stands out a bit near the top right is ‘Canopus’, and what look like two little clouds are actually two ‘small’ satellite galaxies to our own Milky Way galaxy. These are called the Small and Large Magellanic Clouds.
The beams of light shooting upwards are called ‘curtains’. Amazing to see them this far North. I should point out that the colours can hardly be discerned by the naked eye, because our eyes are simply not capable, owing to the type of rods and cones in our eyes, to see colour very well in the dark. It needs to be really bright for us to see colour. Being too far away from the source of the Lights we discern them as moving clouds of monochromatic light. Some people can see them better than others. The camera has no such limitation. However, it was amazing to see, even with the naked eye.
We were totally in awe of the display that went on for hours. Just as we thought it was ending, it would flare up again. This was our first time capturing them on camera. Well worth the cold!
To see a few more of my images check out the Nightscapes gallery.