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Stunning Aurora one of the strongest in years

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 news@tvnz.co.nz

"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.

Went to bed early last night?You missed one heck of a lightshow! Pic taken at 10:40pm #Dunedin #astronomy #aurora pic.twitter.com/rmMKgRuXrp

— Ian Griffin (@iangriffin) March 17, 2015

#Aurora off Otago Peninsula - display too large to get in my wide angle lens @Dunedin pic.twitter.com/6zKkA1ToXr

— Paul Le Comte (@five15design) March 17, 2015

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

Stunning confirmation pink & green #aurora in NZ! Thx 4 report! MT @Koennz Christchurch, New Zealand few minutes ago pic.twitter.com/Yp2STUEhvL

— Dr. Tamitha Skov (@TamithaSkov) 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.

Experts are predicting last night’s spectacular display over the South Island may not be the last. Source: 1 NEWS


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