An astronomical phenomenon is expected to have Skywatchers in Tasmania.
The sun is currently unleashing a flurry of geomagnetic activity toward Earth and it is an exciting time for solar storm chasers across the state.
In the past two days the Sun has released two large coronal mass ejections (CMEs), and when the projection to Earth is favorable, we have seen the strongest representation of the Aurora Australis in a while.
CMEs are large discharges of plasma and magnetic particles from the solar corona. With a speed of 250 to 3000 kilometers per second they reach our planet in only 15 to 18 hours.
Hobart’s Benjamin Alldridge is a noted storm chaser and travels the state photographing elements of the night sky. He says recent activity has been enjoyable after a relatively quiet period for our solar giant.
“The sun goes through an 11-year cycle in which the sun’s magnetic field tilts. While experts cannot be 100% sure, it is believed that around November 2019 the sun was at solar minimum and is now starting to awaken,” said Mr. Alldridge.
After traveling from Hobart over the weekend, he photographed the Aurora Australis at Pine Lake in the central highlands.
“I got some decent action that night and then slept for about an hour before heading over here to the northwest coast,” he said.
Hawley Beach’s Jacqui Beven has been a photographer for nearly 25 years and vividly remembers the night she fell in love while hunting for the Southern Lights.
“I started in 2015 when I wanted to try out Astro Photography. The first night I went out we had an Aurora show. I had no idea it was going to happen and I didn’t follow the readings and website information that we need to review now, but from that day on I was thrilled, “she said.
“I usually spend a few hours with friends and comrades during the winter months. It’s great to be able to share this with like-minded people. We set up our cameras, make ourselves comfortable under the carpet and if we’re lucky.” watch ‘Lady Aurora’ do her thing. “
But sometimes the hunt can be difficult.
“We’ve had a few nights where all the indicators look good and we travel to a prepared place and don’t get anything, but for me that’s part of the thrill when something happens, you just never know,” she said.
Whatever is left in stock, says Mr. Alldridge, he should look out for something in the next few days.
“After all the models, I would think we could possibly see a good show on Thursday or Friday nights.”