Aurora Australis

I saw my first Aurora Australis in March 1989 when I was living in Hobart, Tasmania.  The aurora filled half the heavens with a visible pink/red glow that I mistakenly attributed to the glow of a distant bushfire.  I have a passion for photographing the aurora as each one is unique. With the ready availability of critical information about solar weather available on-line and collected by the DSCOVR spacecraft, it is possible to anticipate the arrival of conditions favourable to the creation of the aurora more accurately. These things are explained in my regular workshops on photographing the aurora and the heavens.


Applying this information, it took nearly a year before I captured my first mainland aurora from just south of Canberra on 23 June 2015. This aurora was visible to the naked eye with reddish/pink beams visible and featured in an article in the Canberra Times:…/like-curtains-being-ruffl….. My aurora hunting also featured in the Canberra Times on 31 December 2016:

Since then, I have photographed the aurora in the Canberra/Snowy Mountains areas on a number of occasions by interpreting the real time solar weather data.


These shots represent some of my favourites from my more memorable aurora hunts and are available for purchase

Aurora Australis, Cooma area, 20 April 2018

AA1 This amazing sight greeted me from the rear of my camera. It was the first time I had seen the green of the auroral arc from mainland Australia.  I know I was going to be for a memorable night. 

AA2 Apart from the strength of the show, I found that I had parked near a handy gate that provided access to this water pumping windmill across the road.  This image is cropped and I am happy to tailor the cropping of the original image to suit your taste.

AA3 The auroral arc shown in AA1 started to divide. The yellows in it were so strong, these were all recorded at ISO 800 at f2.8 which is a much lower amplification setting than normal. 

AA4 After the auroral arc divided, delicate beams started to erupt. 

AA5 - this shot and the next two shots show how quickly the beams changed, I loved the growing area of yellow. 

AA6 - this shot and the next two shows how quickly the beams changed, I loved the growing area of yellow. 

AA7 - within about 5 minutes, the beams had disappeared and the area of the sky was lit up with a pinkest red glow (visible through the camera) that gradually diminished in intensity. The cue for heading home was when foggy cloud started to roll in. It had been a muggy warm day of 25 degrees and the air could no longer hold the moisture 

Aurora Australis, Namadgi National Park, Australian Capital Territory (over Orroral Valley, 5 August 2019

AA 8, 9, 10 and 11 - On 5 August 2019, I was treated to a beautiful display of the Aurora Australis in the Namadgi National Park, overlooking the Orroral Velley. This display was triggered by heightened solar wind levels due to a coronal hole which led to G2 disturbance levels in the Canberra area.

© 2020 by Ian Williams

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