ONE News Reporter/Presenter
An astronomical expert says the current Aurora Australis that has been wowing stargazers is one of the strongest geomagnetic storm events in years.
Aurora Australis, also known as the southern lights, isn't unusual in the deep south, but is seldom this vivid, and last night's was seen as far north as Auckland.
Did you capture the Aurora? We would love to see your photos firstname.lastname@example.org
"It's not common at all, we've had very few reports of it ever being seen as far north as Auckland," Bill Thomas, president of the Auckland Astronomical Society told ONE News.
Geomagnetic storm events are measured on the KP Index. It goes to a maximum of nine, with last night's event passing eight.
Aurora Australis & the International Space Station in one photo. Queenstown can sure put on a show! pic.twitter.com/1tSIVy3ZEG— Tim McCready (@Tim_McCready) March 17, 2015
Immense storms on the sun's surface sent a bust of magnetic particles into space, scoring a direct hit on Earth.
"Charged particles hit the upper earth's atmosphere, causing it to glow," Mr Thomas said.
"Last night we know it was particularly strong because the red glow was easily visible - normally it's quite faint."
The Northern Hemisphere turned green for St Patrick's Day as Aurora Borealis lit up North America.