Aurora Australis – Southern Lights

Wineglass Bay Cruises Aurora Australis

Just to be super clear, you won’t see the Aurora Australis (aka: Southern Lights) from our cruise; but we do have a lot of photography enthusiasts on board so we get asked about it frequently. We thought we would cover a few FAQ’s

Q: What are the Southern Lights / Aurora Australis?

A:  The Aurora appears as lights in the sky, coloured green, red, blue or brown. They can be difficult to see with the naked eye unless they are especially bright. They may appear as a dull, coloured glow where there should normally just be black night sky. A good camera, however, will detect far more detail, particularly with a longer exposure.

Q: What causes the Phenomen?

A: In simple terms (because frankly, the author is having trouble wrapping her head around the technical terms), the lights happen when the sun releases large bursts of solar winds and magnetic fields into space. The winds carry particles that interact with the earth’s magnetic field, (explaining why it only happens at either the northern or southern poles).

Q: Is the Aurora Australis the same as the Aurora Borealis?

A: Essentially, yes. ‘Australis’ is the identifying term for Aurora’s occurring in the Southern Hemisphere. ‘Borealis’ identifies the activity as located in the Northern Hemisphere.

Q: Will there be an Aurora tonight?

A: To be honest, we don’t usually know, but if you are on Facebook, there is a fantastic group here.  If there is an Aurora expected, there will be a lot of chatter, you will know! They also have fantastic resources here.  It’s worth checking out just to browse the images, there are some spectacular moments captured!

Q: Can you see the Southern Lights from this area?

A: Yes, if there is an Aurora, you will see it from most of the state as long as you have a clear view to the south and there is not too much light pollution. (Away from cities is better!)

Wineglass Bay Cruises Aurora Australis

Q: Where is a good spot to see it from in Coles Bay?

A: You will see it from the boat ramp at Muirs Beach, or from the “Saffire” end of Muirs Beach. One of the best places to catch it is quite likely our Jetty, and if you have a wide angle lens, a photo of the Hazards Mountain Range lit from behind by the Southern Lights make s a fantastic souvenir!  You might also try the boat ramp below the Post Office, or Cape Tourville Lighthouse.

Q: Can you point us to some more resources?

A: Yes. We hope you find the following links helpful!

The Aurora Chasers Handbook

A comprehensive article from the ABC

There is even an App!

Photographs courtesy of Puddlehub