Aurora Australis!

Aurora Australis, over a house in Horsham, AustraliaJust like (judging by social media) a bunch of other people, I learned early on Friday morning that we were heading for a rather large geomagnetic storm, and that there could be “possible Aurora sightings as far north as southern NSW”, which definitely included us, so while waiting for the coffee machine to do it’s thing I went out to to ask Sabriena if it was something she’d be interested in seeing.

I wasn’t prepared for just how excited she’d be, Duncan too. By the end of Friday we’d figured out a plan (drive south towards Haven, or possibly south-east to Green Lake, in search of a dark area), but it looked like the weather would not cooperate.

A peak of activity was forecast to hit us around 7pm (9am UTC), so around 8pm we went for a drive… taking the dog with. We ended up out well past Haven, on to McKenzie Creek, finding Butler’s Road which… it turned out was a dry-weather only road. Our poor Commodore managed to make it along without issue, and we found a farm gateway to sit in to get off the road without risking being stuck.

We sat there for a bit, and basically saw nothing. The sky sort of looked different, but it was hard to tell whether it was something there or we were just seeing what we wanted to see. Taking some long-exposure shots with our phones definitely showed some colour, but we mostly left disappointed after almost an hour and a half of being away from home well past the dog’s bedtime.

Sabriena and the dog went to sleep, while Duncan and I stayed up each playing our own video games. Around midnight I was just about to head to bed, and just happened to look outside to see if the sky was clear, and I could actually see traces of the Aurora from our backyard, despite all the light pollution from the town! I went inside to get Duncan, and after deliberating briefly decided it’d be better to wake Sabriena than not, so she came out to look at it and things ended up improving a lot.

Despite the lower Kp index (8.67 vs 9, per NOAA, though I’m still not 100% sure what that means for us locally, but apparently we were only in a G4 storm instead of G5 earlier), we got a much better look at it, presumably due to the lack of cloud cover. Took some very dramatic photos with our phones, I tried and failed to take some shots with the camera (I only had the telephoto lens, I don’t know what I’ve done with the shorter one, nor do I know where the tripod is), then went to bed chuffed like millions of other folks.

Woke up to news that people as far north as Mackay, QLD, and as far south as Georgia, USA got to see it too!

Horsham, VIC, Australia fwaggle



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Horsham, VIC, Australia

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